What Role Do Political Parties Play in Social Protests? Recent Trends in Argentina and Chile


  • Sofia Donoso Departamento de Sociología, Universidad de Chile https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5053-0198
  • Nicolás M. Somma Instituto de Sociología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8717-3868
  • Federico M. Rossi Departamento de Sociología II, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3058-9448




Protests, political parties, surveys, Argentina, Chile


There is a growing consensus about the complementary nature of institutional and non-institutional politics as means to push forward policy agendas. However, the bulk of research tends to concentrate on one aspect of this relationship, namely, how social movements influence the political arena, for example by impacting different stages of the policy-making process and creating new political parties. There is comparatively less understanding of the reverse dynamics: the degree to which political parties also influence the protest arena by adopting and utilizing strategies and tactics commonly associated with social movements and by connecting to demonstrators. Focusing on Argentina and Chile, two countries that have experienced massive protest waves in recent years, this article examines the presence of political parties in the organization, staging, and channeling of demonstrations. Given that the reception of political parties in demonstrations is closely tied to whether they are welcome in the protest arena or not, we also analyze how Argentine and Chilean protesters perceive political parties and the level of identification they feel with them. Our primary data source comes from 1935 surveys conducted as part of the Caught in the Act of Protest: Contextualizing Contestation (CCC) network between 2015 and 2017. We found that political parties in Argentina exhibit stronger ties to social movements compared to those in Chile. We seek to link this outcome to divergent and historically rooted patterns of protest dynamics in both countries and discuss the implications of our findings in the conclusion.


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How to Cite

Donoso, S., Somma, N. M., & Rossi, F. M. (2023). What Role Do Political Parties Play in Social Protests? Recent Trends in Argentina and Chile. Sociologica, 17(1), 91–103. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/16816



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