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ECPR Joint Sessions 2020 Sciences Po Toulouse

Structural Explanation of Protest Intensity in Hungary

Europe (Central and Eastern)
 
Contentious Politics
 
Democracy
 
Representation
 
Regression
 
Protests
 
Presenter
Pál Susánszky
Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Authors
Pál Susánszky
Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Márton Gerő
Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
akos Kopper
Eötvös Loránd University

Abstract
The intensity of movement activities depends on at least two factors: the agents that mobilize and the structural characteristics in which these activities take place. In our study, we aim to examine, how structural factors influence the intensity of mobilizations. The recent changes in the political situation in Hungary provides a good case for such a research, as the ruling party, Fidesz, has introduced changes in the Hungarian political system. Although the labelling of the new system is different, as some define it as a a hybrid regime (Buzogany 2017, Bozóki-Hegedűs 2016, Szűcs 2018), while others as a diffusely defective democracy (Bogaards 2018), or an elective authoritarian one (Kornai 2016, Unger 2018), it is beyond any doubts, that political opportunities became closed in the last decade.
In the name of the “system of national cooperation” as the prime minister called the reformed political system, enacted a new constitution (Batory 2016, Majtényi et.al 2019, Várnagy and Ilonszki 2017), centralized the media (Polyák 2019), and intensively attacked the civil sphere (). Most of these changes were introduced without consultation and without taking into account the critics of the opposition parties and civil organizations.
In such a political situation, actors critical to the government has no other choice, but to apply extra-parliamentary means to protest against the regime and express their claims.
However, the situation also means that critical actors have scarce resources, thus structural factors might play an even bigger role in influencing the intensity of their activities then in other cases. Therefore, we examine how structural factors influence the intensity of protest events organized by governmental critical actors, in a two years time span. Structural characteristics are the local mobilization potential, measured by population size, economic developments of the area, number of civil organizations, level of grievances, as well as local embeddedness and resources of opposition parties and social movements.
Our analysis based on police archive, that contains every registered demonstrations in Hungary between 2015-2017. To test relationship between the intensity of protest activities and structural charactersitics we apply zero-inflated negative binomial regression models.
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