Activists, Authorities and the Problem of Telling the Difference

Michael Maier, via Wikimedia.

Discussion about who killed Anna Mae Aquash of the American Indian Movement in the 1960s raises some interesting thoughts regarding what takes place when governments and challengers square off against one another. Underlying most research on the topic and popular understanding is the idea that governments and challengers represent different sides of a conflict – each has their own motives for engaging (i.e., ideology or goals), their own means for engaging (e.g., identified as “mobilizing structures” in the social movement literature) and their own sense of opportunity (i.e., when the time is ripe to strike). We alternatively call this “intrastate conflict processes” or “the conflict-repression nexus” (for the political science oriented among us) and “contentious politics” or “protest-protest policing” (for the sociological oriented). This approach has influenced how researchers study the topic and, as a result, it has broadly influenced what we can know.

Those interested with conflict, this a major problem.

Read more in the blogpost at Political Violence @ a Glance published 29 April, 2014

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