Non-western social movements and participatory democracy: Protest in the age of transnationalism
This book analyzes social movements across a range of countries in the non-Western world: Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, India, Iran, Palestine, Russia, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine in the period 2008 to 2016. The individual case studies investigate how political and social goals are framed nationally and globally, and the types of mobilization strategies used to pursue them. The studies also assess how, in the age of transnationalism, the idea of participatory democracy produces new collective-action frames and mass-mobilization strategies.
The book challenges the view that most social movements unequivocally seek to achieve higher levels of democratization. Instead, the authors argue that protesters across different movements advocate more involved forms of citizen participation, since passive representation through liberal democratic institutions fails to address mass grievances and demands for accountability in many countries.
This chapter analyzes protester demands, strategies and new forms of participation during the Bosnian protests in 2013 and 2014. While protesters started with simple demands for socio-economic policy reforms, over time they took to the streets to fight corruption, inequality, and incompetence of the political elite. The protests led to the creation of the Citizen Plenums, which constitute Bosnia’s unique experience of direct decision-making mechanisms at the local level. It is this common protest agenda and new participatory institutions that contribute today to the unification of the ethnically divided Bosnian society.
This chapter analyses the nature of the Brazilian socio-political protests that sparked in 2013 and are still going on today. The focus on determining the main drivers of the movement, protesters’ demands, new forms of collective action and the resulting political changes allows me to trace an important change in the Brazilian democracy as a whole. These protests are neither a one-shot deal, nor an institutionalized social movement. I argue that they rather represent a demand of protesters for participation in the permanent dialogue between the power and the public on every single issue that troubles at least some groups of the society. In this sense, such protests may indicate a completely novel era in the Brazilian democracy that renders representative democracy obsolete and insufficient, while the demands for participatory democracy are being increasingly voiced. Importantly, this mode of protesting proves rather efficient in terms of real changes in politics it brought.