Protests, Signaling, and Elections: Conceptualizing Opposition-Movement Interactions during Argentina’s Anti-Government Protests (2012-2013)

A. M. Peña, Tomás Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-345
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Movement Studies
Issue number3
Early online date17 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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  • Argentina
  • Contentious politics
  • elections
  • mass protests
  • party politics

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