Why did they join en masse? Understanding 'Ordinary' Ukrainians Participation in Mass-Mobilization in 2004

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This article attempts to answer two questions based on the case of Ukraine in 2004: What are the triggers, patterns and trajectories of the mass-mobilisation of ordinary citizens? I argue that mass-mobilisation of ordinary citizens is triggered by the breaking of a collective threshold of political patience after the government has infringed upon civic rights en masse.The findings of this paper are based in a comparative study of mass mobilization in Argentina in 2001 and Ukraine in 2004 and the Ukrainian case is under- stood to be a example of how ordinary citizens in new democracies (regardless of region or country) view their political rights and engagement. The argument presented is that [be they Argentines (2001), Georgians (2003), Ukrainians (2004), or most recently Tunisians (2010) or Egyptians (2011)] ordinary citizens are rational political actors, who can articulate their protest participation using a rights based discourse. Based on intensive qualitative research, I conclude that ordinary citizens protest engagement is a calculated reaction to a long chain of processes including: a severe crisis environment, activist protest, opposition strength and cooperation, a weak and isolated government, and finally a mass infringement of civic rights. These processes take place simultaneously and in a compounding manner lead to a breaking of a collective threshold of political patience, a moment of no return when civic rights are abused en masse, making the mass-mobilisation of ordinary citizens very likely.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNowa Ukraina
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Ukraine
  • Social Mobilization
  • Protest
  • Civil Society
  • Ordinary Citizens
  • Orange Revolution
  • Comparative Politics
  • Extra-institutional political behaviour
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys


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