An diesem Freitag findet zum vierten Mal das Kolloquium Politik von unten statt. Wir diskutieren mit Swen Hutter (München) den Entwurf zu einem Zeitschriftenbeitrag zum Thema: „When do political parties protest? A comparative study of six West European countries“ und mit Paula Marie Hildebrandt (Weimar/Berlin) über ihre Dissertation „Folge dem weißen Kaninchen… Künstlerische Interventionen im öffentlichen Raum als Wiederentdeckung politischer Partizipation oder die ‚Kunst öffentlicher Partizipation‘“.

Das Kolloquium findet Freitag um 17.00 Uhr im Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (Raum B 002/003) statt. Mehr Details zum Kolloquium auf dieser Seite.

Swen Hutter: When do political parties protest? A comparative study of six West European countries

This paper studies the protest activities of political parties. Thus, it takes the main collective actors of electoral democracies and ask, when do parties support or facilitate protest events on the streets; i.e., when do they enter a major arena of off-electoral democracy? More specifically, the paper deals with the frequency and timing of mobilization by parties in the protest arena. The study addresses effects of time, party and country characteristics. To begin with, I develop two hypotheses on the trends over time. While Kitschelt’s differentiation hypothesis leads us to expect that political parties focus increasingly on electoral competition and leave the protest arena to social movement organizations, movement society theorists expect that political parties are increasingly involved in protest activities. Regarding party characteristics, the literature suggests that left-wing, radical, niche and opposition parties are more likely to sponsor protest events than right-wing, moderate, mainstream and government parties. Finally, I expect that the general structural setting of political mobilization also affects parties’ action repertoire in a given country. Empirically, the study relies on a major dataset covering protest events in six West European countries (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland) for the period 1975 to 2005. Overall, the paper presents mixed results for the time and country hypotheses, while most of the expected party differences can be observed. Particularly, the left-right ideological orientation of parties is a key factor that determines whether political parties enter the protest arena.