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Taking to the Streets: Protest as an Expression of Political Preference in Africa

Harris, AS; Hern, E; (2018) Taking to the Streets: Protest as an Expression of Political Preference in Africa. Comparative Political Studies , 52 (8) pp. 1169-1199. 10.1177/0010414018806540. Green open access

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Abstract

Between 2011 and 2014, there were 5 times as many protests per annum in Africa as there had been in 2000. The majority of these protests were related to deteriorating economic conditions, poor service delivery, inadequate wages, and economic inequality. These protests, which we term “valence protests,” do not fit easily into typical narratives about contentious behavior: they are neither social movements, nor revolutionary, nor a manifestation of organized labor—instead, many of these protests are a collective expression of a valence issue of which the government is well aware. We argue for a different conceptual framework for valence protests and contend that they are a way for politically engaged citizens to express their political preferences when voting is insufficient. Using Round 5 Afrobarometer data, we find empirical support for this claim. We also find that citizens more readily communicate political preferences through protest in countries governed by dominant parties.

Type: Article
Title: Taking to the Streets: Protest as an Expression of Political Preference in Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0010414018806540
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0010414018806540
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Protest, political behavior, African politics, valence protest
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064745
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