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Understanding the Origin, Characteristics, and Implications of Mass Political Movements

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University of Washington Seattle United States

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Major Goals Systemic change in governance and political institutions often occurs when large numbers of citizens mobilize to press for it. But mass movements are rare, which constrains our understanding of how they influence political and policy responsiveness, inclusion, and change. Mass mobilization is the subject of a large, interdisciplinary academic literature, including some of the most influential scholarship on political and economic change. But studies of mass mobilization have typically focused on well-known movements and on mobilizations in one or a limited number of countries or historical periods, such as post-colonial struggles or the recent Arab Spring, and thus inevitably neglect less well-known mobilizations and less well-studied historical periods, limiting our general understanding of broader questions about mass mobilization that require a more comprehensive perspectivequestions such as how movements and states interact in ways that shape their implications for their societies, or how political, economic, demographic, and other factors influence how movements organize and seek change. Thus at a time of increasing mobilization that is reshaping the political and economic landscape in much of the world, and of increasing interest among scholars, policymakers, and the general public in mobilization, we lack a comprehensive general understanding of how mobilization influences political responsiveness, inclusion, and change. This project seeks to help fill this gap in two ways. First, we use historical scholarship and texts to develop a comprehensive survey of movements over the last two centuries in which more than a thousand people were willing to engage in personally costly mobilization for at least a month around a shared political goal.

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2014,28 Feb 2019




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