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Racial Conflict and Protest in South Africa and the United States

Susan Olzak and Johan L. Olivier
European Sociological Review
Vol. 14, No. 3 (Sep., 1998), pp. 255-278
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/522683
Page Count: 24
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Racial Conflict and Protest in South Africa and the United States
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Abstract

Our analysis of thousands of racial confrontations and protests in South Africa and the United States provides support for the hypothesis that some forms of state-sponsored repression fuel racial unrest. In the United States our results indicate that the number of arrests by police at prior collective events deterred protest but it raised the rate of racial conflict between whites and blacks. In South Africa the situation is more complicated: arrests in the form of detentions raised the rate of anti-Apartheid protest, but banning of political activists decreased protest activity and interracial conflict. Consistent with competition and resource-mobilization theories, our results show that declining levels of racial inequality in education for blacks significantly raised rates of black protest in both countries.

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