Dealing with political adversaries and disagreement in contentious politics

GT 4.6 La política contenciosa más allá de la plaza / Contentious politics beyond the square. To what extent new? To what extent disrupting? To what extent influential?

Camilo Cristancho (Universitat de Barcelona)
Sesión 1
Día: miércoles,18 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 15:00 a 17:30
Lugar: E11SEM04

Blame attribution for outcomes of public interest is central to understanding politics as it reflects perceptions of political disagreement. It is an especially decisive matter in protest politics. When dealing with highly divisive issues, demonstrators point to different kinds of actors and in this way they express different views of political dissent. Some blame actors who hold opposing stances that challenge their beliefs (adversaries), others blame government competence, and others signal collective responsibility or point to broader socio-economic outcomes. This study questions to what extent does conceiving dissent as adversarial politics is related to political attitudes such as party identity or external efficacy, how those perceptions are affected by social movement organizations and under what conditions is influence stronger. Research on framing effects has dealt with “frames in thought” focusing on emphasis changes and from a mostly experimental approach with limited external validity. With protest survey data from 47 events on eight position issues that took place in eight European countries between 2009 and 2012, I find evidence for the importance of issue-specific contexts in explaining individual perceptions. Issue-divisiveness as expressed by public opinion is the strongest predictor for perceiving disagreement as adversarial politics. Social movement organizations also play a major role in making sense of the protest issues through frame alignment processes. Individual traits have a weaker power for explaining perceptions, but voting and party identity do matter in how individuals frame blame attribution. These findings are relevant to the study of political disagreement and its relation to influence and mobilization processes.

Keywords: Protest, political disagreement, political behavior, framing, political adversaries

Palabras clave: protesta, desacuerdo, framing, adversarios políticos