Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor

Lynn Horton, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andrea Molle, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Hilmi Ulas, Ph.D.


To expand our theoretical and empirical understanding of mobilization and repression in Latin America, this thesis asks three critical questions. Are economic indicators sufficient predictors of social movement emergence in Latin America? What other factors contribute to large-scale mobilization in Latin America? How do government’s respond to large-scale Latin American social movements? Specifically, when, and why do democratic governments choose to employ repression against social movements? Accordingly, I construct a quantitative model to test the correlation between rise in protest and worsened economic conditions. I apply it to a comprehensive dataset of political events in multiple South American countries throughout the first quarter of 2018 and the last quarter of 2021. Then, I turn my attention to Chile specifically, to illustrate how economic indicators alone cannot produce a fully predictive model. I contextualize the most recent “Chile Despertó” movement and situate it within the longer historical process of democratization and social movements in Chile. I argue that Federico M. Rossi’s concepts of “repertoire of strategies” and “stock of legacies” fills the gaps in the quantitative data by allowing researchers to analyze how public actions emerge because of both institutional constraints and identity-framing processes. Similarly, the state responds in ways that are consistent with their own institutional and constructed identity. Finally, there is strong evidence that the relationship between social movements and repression is in fact relational and interdependent.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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