Seminar Series

Convention, Protest, or Violence? Explaining Tactical Choices in Contentious Political Events around the World

Thursday, 24 February 2021 | 9:00 - 10:00 (JST)
Zoom Webinar
  • Takeshi Wada Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Event Description

Contentious political events—such as the collapses of socialist regimes around 1990, the Zapatista uprising in Mexico in 1994, the Arab Spring around 2010, and the Black Lives Matter movement since 2014—often catch us by surprise. Why do people use conventional tactics such as petitioning, voting, and lobbying to make claims at times, go out to protest publicly at other times, and even resort to violence on still other occasions? It appears that people’s tactical choices are totally unpredictable, but the social movement literature suggests the contrary: their choices are highly predictable because these are dependent upon people’s familiarity with the tactics. In a word, people cannot perform if they do not know how. This presentation explores such a cultural hypothesis about contentious tactics and repertoires and asks to what degree we can explain and predict tactical patterns. It conducts a cross-national comparison of tactical patterns using a data set of 10 million events worldwide, reported by Reuters, between 1990 and 2004.

About the Speaker

Takeshi Wada is a Professor in the Department of Area Studies and Director of the Latin American and Iberian Network for Academic Collaboration (LAINAC) at The University of Tokyo. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University in 2003. His area of specialization includes political sociology, social movements, sociology of development, and Latin American Studies. Dr. Wada has served as a Visiting Student at El Colegio de México (2000-2001), as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (2003-2005), and as a Visiting Scholar at the Jack W. Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy, University of California Irvine (2019).