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Frames in Conflict: Discursive Contestation and the Transformation of Resistance

  • Michael S. Wilson BecerrilEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)

Abstract

Growing literature suggests that civil resistance is a strategically superior means of waging a struggle, but why do some movements continue to respond to violent repression with violence? Based on extensive, comparative fieldwork, this chapter sheds light on why some groups transform their tactical responses to police provocation, from riots and arson to disciplined, strictly nonviolent methods of struggle. Ethnographic evidence from two cases of mining conflicts in Peru illustrates how, within a context of legal and discursive criminalization, civil resistance movements learn how their opponents use discourses of “violence” and “terrorism” to delegitimize, repress, and demobilize their struggle. Activists directly cite this mechanism as a key reason why they adopt strictly nonviolent tactics and frames, train their activists in the importance of these methods, and discipline their actions. This research thus contributes an in-depth look at how conflict dynamics, criminalization, and movements’ learning processes affect their tactical and strategic choices.

Keywords

Peru Mining Resource conflicts Violence Discourse Criminalization Civil resistance 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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