Scholars have been extending social-movement analysis beyond its base in the industrialized West to Latin America and Asia, but rarely to Africa. Social movements resisting repression in nondemocratic settings have usually had the help of external “opportunities” or favorable circumstances. This study, however, examines a peaceful social movement in Liberia, a movement that resisted repression under two regimes, advocating for human rights and democratic freedom without such “opportunities.” How did this happen? The study finds four explanations: the formation of a microsocial movement with no formal leadership and only loosely connected strands of resistance, which were harder to control; a high level of commitment by participants; the skillful use of local media and international organizations to put pressure on the regime; and historical roots of resistance, especially in the 1970s.


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pp. 3-22
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