What do states gain by sending citizens into the streets? Ruling by Other Means investigates this question through the lens of State-Mobilized Movements (SMMs), an umbrella concept that includes a range of (often covertly organized) collective actions intended to advance state interests. The SMMs research agenda departs significantly from that of classic social movement and contentious politics theory, focused on threats to the state from seemingly autonomous societal actors. Existing theories assume that the goal of popular protest is to voice societal grievances, represent oppressed groups, and challenge state authorities and other powerholders. The chapters in this volume show, however, that states themselves organize citizens (sometimes surreptitiously and even transnationally) to act collectively to advance state goals. Drawn from different historical periods and diverse geographical regions, these case studies expand and improve our understanding of social movements, civil society and state-society relations under authoritarian regimes.
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