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The Missing Link in the Diffusion of Protest: Asking Others

Stefaan Walgrave and Ruud Wouters
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 119, No. 6 (May 2014), pp. 1670-1709
DOI: 10.1086/676853
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/676853
Page Count: 40
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The Missing Link in the Diffusion of Protest: Asking Others
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Abstract

Mobilization for protest is a process of diffusion in interpersonal networks. Extant work has found that being asked by people one knows is a key determinant of participation, but the flip side—asking others—has been neglected. The authors examine which prospective participants are most likely to ask others to participate and whom they ask. Drawing on a new and unusual data set including evidence on more than 7,000 participants in 48 demonstrations across Europe, the authors find that activists who are committed to the demonstration’s cause (willing to recruit others) and who are part of participation-friendly networks (able to recruit others) are the most active recruiters. Asking others is dependent on being asked: participants tend to recruit people similar to those who have recruited them and, most importantly, participants who are recruited via strong ties are less active recruiters themselves.

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