Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 April 1999
This article is a comparative study of the relationship between social movements and the individual rights of citizenship. It identifies three main connections between collective action and individual rights made in theory and history, and analyses them in the context of modern authoritarian regimes. It does so by measuring both social mobilization and the presence of rights over time in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Spain, and analyses their mutual impact statistically – both within and across these national cases. The results demonstrate the mutual impact between rights and movements, and more importantly, constitute a robust defence of democracy as the direct result of collective struggles for individual rights.