Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe

By Roger D. Petersen | Go to book overview
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Mechanisms and Process
As outlined in the previous chapter, rebellions against strong regimes generally involve multiple stages. Correspondingly, rebellions necessitate multiple mechanisms that serve to drive individuals from one stage to the next as well as mechanisms that sustain action in vital roles. This chapter provides a detailed description of three sets of interconnected mechanisms crucial for initiating and sustaining rebellion:
1. Mechanisms driving movement from neutrality to widespread, but unorganized and unarmed, resistance (0 to +1).
2. Mechanisms driving movement to locally organized and armed rebellion (+1 to +2).
3. Mechanisms sustaining locally organized rebellion (maintaining action at +2).

From Neutrality to Widespread, Unarmed, and
Unorganized Resistance

Some of the actions that characterize +1 behavior include writing antiregime graffiti, singing nationalist songs on buses, handing out or accepting antiregime literature, boycotting elections, and participating in “spontaneous” demonstrations. The significance of these actions is that they are public manifestations of antiregime sentiment, and, as each involves the possibility of sanction, they serve as public indicators of the number of risk accepters in the general populace and the amount of risk they will incur.1 In Chairman

As stated in Chapter 1, I am challenging Timur Kuran's argument that the distribution of thresholds is basically unknowable. Individuals are capable of signaling their threshold, at least in terms of its risk component, using symbolic actions.


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