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The protest survey research project in Mexico focuses on answering the following questions: who participates in protest?; why do they participate?; and how are they mobilized to do so? The main contribution of the Mexican team is twofold: (1) survey implementation during the demonstration event and (2) local controls for participants and non-participants.


Why Mexico?

The emerging democracy in Mexico likely involves a different pathway of mobilizing people into mass demonstrations than long-standing industrialized capitalist democracies in Western Europe and the United States. Pre-existing organizations such as labor unions, agricultural cooperatives, and religious institutions play a larger role in mobilizing individuals in formerly corporatist states such as Mexico (Incln, 2008), while in Western European democracies political participation is likely driven by more individual attributes of beliefs, ideology, and political preferences (Klandermans, 1997). In addition, new digital and communication technologies are transforming politics and the mechanisms of political participation (Almeida and Lichbach, 2003).

Survey implementation during the demonstration event

Implementing the questionnaire during the actual protest event is an innovative strategy and advantage over past techniques to gather data from respondents in political demonstrations. The most common method is to sample participants (and non-participants) after the event has occurred. This method introduces a number of potential biases, especially recall error when the event took place in the distant past. By employing the questionnaire in the actual demonstration validity and reliability of the responses are increased by the proximity of the event with the participants actual motivations and justifications for attending the demonstration. Moreover, the respondents presence in the event guarantees that the subject actually participated in the protest. The team of researchers on site also ensures that each item is appropriately recorded on the questionnaire without the errors of misunderstanding common in mail-in surveys. 

Local controls for participants and nonparticipants

While the project focuses on variation within demonstrations and between demonstrations (including different nations), we will also implement a survey run with non-participants for each demonstration we cover. This way we will carry out a data base on the differences between participants and non-participants. This will offer additional information on the differences between those that participate in a demonstration and those that do not and provide a better profile of the dynamics of protest participation.

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