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Repression, Opportunity, and Protest: Explaining the Takeoff of Brazil's Landless Movement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Abstract

During the mid-1990s, Brazil experienced a rapid intensification of protest for land reform. Official land reform efforts also accelerated, and the issue became a central topic of public concern and debate. This article seeks to account for the abrupt intensification of collective action and to explain its relationship to the other changes, focusing on the political impact of two massacres of landless protesters in 1995 and 1996. These incidents forced authorities to accelerate land reform and to exercise somewhat greater caution in repressing the movement. The shifts in state behavior then helped to accelerate collective action. This argument lends weight to the idea that state repression against a social movement can sometimes serve to engender even greater protest. It also identifies a previously undescribed causal mechanism, political opportunity, linking repression to protest.

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Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Miami 2006

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