Current projects

1. ERC-Advanced Investigator Grant (Eur. 2.5 million) for prof.dr. Bert Klandermans.
Protests in ‘new’ democracies about ‘stolen elections’, demonstrations in ‘old’ democracies against austerity measures, occupied squares all over the world against inequality and for better governance. Some argue that contentious politics gains importance and party politics declines. Is that so and why would that be? Why is it that some individuals engage in politics while others remain apathetic? Why is it that some citizens take the electoral route, while others engage in contentious politics? The truth is that we do not really know. Should we bother? I think we should. Citizens who are actively involved in politics are an asset to democracy. Understanding how and why people take part in politics would help to build more democratic societies. The proposed project compares participation in contentious and non-contentious politics in various countries within a single theoretical and methodological framework. A central tenet of this research proposal is that sooner or later every citizen might get involved in politics. I seek the reason why in the interplay of dynamics at the individual, the organizational, and the societal level. What are the motives people have? What are the appeals parties and movement organizations disseminate; and what are the opportunities and constraints regimes impose?

Comparison is the core of the project. It encompasses four subproject: (1) a meta-analysis of publications on movement and party politics combined; (2) comparisons of political participation over time and countries in existing global survey data; (3) focus group discussions to understand the formation of political engagement and disengagement in four ‘old’ democracies (the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, U.S.A.), two postcommunist ‘new’ democracies (Hungary, Poland) and two post-authoritarian ‘new’ democracies (Brazil, Argentina); (4) experimental focused surveys among 1000 respondents to quantify patterns of political participation in the same eight countries. (more info: visit the Polpart-homepage or contact prof. dr. Klandermans)

2. The emergence of collective action
Most protest events are on their way already once researchers enter the arena. A group of SCC-projects aims to study collective action as it evolves. One such project is the so called VINEX-project. The formation of social networks, mobilization potential, and mobilizing structures in newly built VINEX-quarters are studied (more info: * dr. J van Stekelenburg) . Another project explores how groups in the Diaspora respond to events in the countries of their origin (more info: dr. J van Stekelenburg). A third project is the communities at risk project. A population of communities at risk of protest events (regarding imminent deportation of refugee children) is studied, comparing communities where protests did occur with communities where it didn’t (more info: dr.M. Boekkooi). A fourth project concerns contagious collective action. It tries to understand why collective action travels from country to country and within a country from region to region (more info: dr. J Muis).

  • 3. Contextualizing contestation
    Social movements, collective actions evolve in a social and political context, which supposedly influence the course of events. Systematic knowledge on how context influences collective action is rare. The flagship project of the SCC group is the project on street demonstrations (CCC). Seventy demonstrations in 8 different countries are compared in terms of who are the demonstrators, how did they get there, and why are they demonstrating? Ritual parades, anti-austerity protests and protest regarding socio-cultural issues are compared (more info: www.protestsurvey.eu. Recently we started a project on ‘exit’ and ‘voice’ among military personnel (more info: I. Petrovic). The group is also involved in research into online and offline political participation under circumstances of severe repression (Iran, for more info: * A. Honari), political participation of Egyptian youth (more info:prof. dr. Klandermans), and sustained participation in the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil (more info: J. Santos Nascimento).
  • 4. Identity formation in times of contention
    A third group of projects concerns identity formation with a special emphasis on contentious contexts. The formation of national identity among South African youth (more info: dr. S. Welschen); identity formation among Dutch Moroccan adolescents (more info: J. Prins); the mobilization of tolerance and intolerance are studies under this umbrella (more info: M. van Doorn).