Take Part - Social Learning to Take Part in Social Movements:

Understanding the Social Transformation of Civic Participation

Unlikely Allies? Protest Co-Participation Networks of Civil Society Organizations and Political Parties Submitted


Matthias Hoffmann, Felipe G. Santos, Dan Mercea, Sorana Constantinescu, Henri
Pozsar, Claudiu Vlasie, Fernando Varga, Teresa Zenteno

The rise and electoral success of so-called ‘populist’, ‘challenger’, or ‘movement’ parties has shed new light on the intersection of institutional and extra-institutional politics. Recent debates have refuted a neat distribution of labour between civil society organizations who voice grievances through means of (street) protest and political parties, who channel demands through electoral participation, instead pointing toward intricate dynamics of co- and counter- mobilization that depend on both the type of (party) organization and their ideological positioning (Borbáth & Hutter, 2021, Hoffmann et al. 2022).

At the same time, only few studies have taken an explicitly relational perspective that seeks to apply a field approach to the study of protest and which can therefore enrich our understanding of the way political parties and civil society organizations build, maintain, or dissolve political alliances through joint protest participation (Pirro, Pavan, Fagan, & Gazsi, 2021) and mutual learning. We enrich and develop this approach through an analysis that combines an original protest event dataset from six countries over  fifteen months. We operationalize the co-participation in protest of political parties and civil society organisations in a social network analysis. We explore political parties’ position in relational protest fields, in conjunction with protests’ action form, issue, and actors’ ideology, to advance academic knowledge on political participation and the complex interplay of the institutional and extra-institutional fields.


Borbáth, E., & Hutter, S. (2021). Protesting Parties in Europe: A comparative analysis. Party
Politics, 27(5), 896–908. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068820908023.

Pirro, A. L. P., Pavan, E., Fagan, A., & Gazsi, D. (2021). Close ever, distant never? Integrating
protest event and social network approaches into the transformation of the Hungarian far
right. Party Politics, 27(1), 22–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068819863624.

Hoffmann, M., Steinhilper, E., & Bauer, K. (2022). Fields of contention as a prism: toward a
nuanced role of parties and civil society actors in protest interactions. Social Movement
Studies, 00(00), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2022.2158074.

Conferences where the paper will be presented:

1. European Consortium of Political Research General Conference (ECPR GC),
Dublin, 12 – 15 August.

2. European Sociological Association (ESA) Conference, Porto, 27-30 August