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Civil Society And Social Movements: Some Theoretical Considerations

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Chapter Summary

In the context of post-Cold War Latin America, the term ?civil society? has represented a staging ground for conceptual misdemeanours. The context within which social movements emerged in Guatemala after 1985 was characterised by a fractured, fragmented and internally contradictory civil society, militarised by the armed conflict, and silenced by the state-led repression. In Guatemala, the social movements that emerged during the democratic transition shared characteristics with movements that developed in other Latin American countries. As was also the case throughout Latin America, Guatemalan social movements formed in direct response to the activity of the authoritarian state. Historically, three approaches to analysing social movements have predominated in the literature: resource mobilisation theory, identity-oriented or new social movement approaches, and the political process model of collective action.

Keywords: armed conflict; civil society; democratic transition; Guatemala; Latin America; social movements



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