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Andrei Semenov   1
  • 1 Perm State University, Bukireva, 15, Perm, Russian Federation 614990

Protest Event Analysis as a Tool for Political Mobilization Studies

2018, vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 317–341 [issue contents]
In this paper, we analyze the scope and limits of protest event-analysis as a tool for studying political mobilization. Event-analysis is a form of content-analysis and allows for the reconstruction of the dynamics of contention and its key characteristics on the basis of different text sources (police and media reports, participatory observations, etc.). The inception of protest event-analysis is closely linked to the development of the comparative method in the social sciences and to the competition between the theories of collective action and social movements. The demand for wide cross-national comparisons and the quantification of social-political phenomena in addition to the pioneering works of Charles Tilly created the preconditions for a systematic collection of information on protest events. Four generations of event analysis led to the formulation of key concepts of collective action theory (“political opportunity structure”, “cycle of protest”, “repertoire of contention”, etc.), and also improved the techniques and procedures of data collection process, for example, by introducing the triangulation of sources using semi-automated coding. We also analyze the sources of systematic bias in data collection process (selective, descriptive, and research) and the possible means of correction. In addition, we compare the event catalogs of Russian protests and point to specifics of this case, namely, spatial heterogeneity, poor quality of media reports in absence of alternative sources, and the bias in media coverage towards big cities. Using the experience of the “Contention Politics in Russia” database development, we propose systematic methods and means which address the challenges of protest event-analysis in regards to Russia.
Citation: Semenov A. (2018) Sobytiynyy analiz protestov kak instrument izucheniya politicheskoy mobilizatsii [Protest Event Analysis as a Tool for Political Mobilization Studies]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 2, pp. 317-341 (in Russian)
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