Protest and Social Movements in the Developing World

Protest and Social Movements in the Developing World

Edited by Shinichi Shigetomi and Kumiko Makino

In this insightful book, the contributors focus on the impact of contextual factors on social movements in the developing world, pushing major existing theories beyond their traditional focus.

Preface

Edited by Shinichi Shigetomi and Kumiko Makino

Subjects: development studies, development studies

Extract

The contributors to this volume, who are all area study specialists and deeply interested in development issues, occasionally in their field of study find local people who are motivated to change their environments which are plagued with desperate problems such as poverty, environmental destruction or threats to human rights. How does this happen? Why is it possible? These are the questions with which we launched this study project. One frequently heard answer is that the situation itself impels the people to stand up for themselves. However, the structure which causes grievances among the people may at the same time function as a restriction which fetters the people to remain as they are. The mainstream social movement theories, in contrast, tell us that the actor, especially the movement organizer, is important. These theories persuasively explain how capable leaders and excellent strategies cause social movements to emerge. However, the constraints on economic resources and political freedom in developing countries may not allow the wishes of actors to be expressed in the manner commonly assumed in the theories originating in developed Western societies. We feel that the phenomena of social movements in the developing world cannot be simply explained either by the structure or by applying an actor-centered approach while neglecting the structure. Therefore, we started to examine carefully the contextual conditions – such as institutions, resources and organizations – surrounding the social movement actors, to find what conditions determine the course of action. Such work, we hoped, may help to define the space of...