Demobilization Processes in Latin America

Pablo Lapegna, Renata Motta, Maritza Paredes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


What are the main dynamics and mechanisms of demobilization among Latin American social movements? What political and economic contexts create obstacles for their contentious collective actions? In which ways do the political economy, states, and political parties shape patterns of demobilization? Under which conditions do social movements decide to refrain from mobilizing? This chapter addresses these questions by zooming in on contemporary South America. It focuses attention on specific geographical and historical coordinates: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru in the context of neoliberalization in the 1990s and the “commodity boom” of the 2000s. It understands demobilization as a process resulting from interactions within and between social movements, and between social movements and other actors. Demobilization is not simply the absence of mobilization, as it assumes the previous organization of contentious actions of organizations that are still active. The study of demobilization requires focusing on the role of agency and strategy to better understand how social movements refrain from mobilizing to advance their claims and achieve their goals. The chapter discusses six mechanisms underpinning recent demobilization trends in Latin America: performative governance, institutional recognition, social conformism, dual pressure, taking sides, and the glocalization of protest.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Latin American Social Movements
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780190870393
ISBN (Print)9780190870362
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Demobilization
  • Non-contentious action
  • Relational mechanisms
  • Social movements
  • South America


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