Repression and Participation: A Chilean Case Study

Zuniga, C. (Universidad de Chile), Asún, R. (Universidad de Chile), Zamora, R., (Universidad de Chile), Palma, I. (Universidad de Chile), Saldana, V., (Universidad de Chile), Ortiz, C., (Universidad de Chile), Fernandez, R., (Universidad de Chile)

Several studies have shown that non-normative and normative collective action are linked to different variables. However, a survey of a random 400-person sample, conducted in the Chilean region of Aysen – where in 2011 a social movement paralyzed the region for two months and was met with a violent response from the Government – showed that most of these variables did not differ significantly between people who participated in normative and non-normative actions.  Besides, a confirmatory factor analysis showed that the participants’ actions cannot be divided into normative and non-normative. The dimensional structure that best fits the data is a single factor, which grouped behaviors ranging from participation in gatherings to confrontations with security forces and destruction of public property. A latent class analysis showed that two groups fits the data, but one of them includes people who barely participated in the protests, while the other encompasses nearly everyone who took part in them, with no significantly distinguishable subgroups being identified. In addition, nine interviews with movement leaders and four focus groups with people who participated in the movement were conducted. They revealed that, for all interviewees, police repression caused them to respond much more violently than they would have believed possible beforehand. Based on these results, the role that repression can play in the promotion of violent or non-normative behaviors is discussed.


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Intergroup Conflict