This article explores the interface of protest movements and opposition parties, considering this remains conceptually under-specified. It does so by proposing a processual framework involving three mechanisms of party-movement interaction – signaling, frame-alignment, and coalition-building – at play in different phases of a contentious cycle unfolding under electoral conditions. Drawing on novel interview data, the article validates this proposal by tracing direct and indirect effects between protest signals, activists, and Argentine opposition parties during the year-long contentious cycle that preceded the defeat of the Kirchner government in the 2013 legislative elections. On this basis, it is argued that interactive dynamics between protest actors and political parties can significantly affect opposition politics, supporting the emergence of collaborative strategies that may have major electoral implications. The article thus makes relevant theoretical and empirical contributions, by both offering an analytical bridge between social movement and party politics literatures with potential for further elaboration, while illuminating new developments concerning the positioning of Latin American center-right parties in relation to mass protests.
Bibliographical note© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.
- Contentious politics
- mass protests
- party politics