I’m a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. My research investigates the institutional sources of increasing protest demands, and the context under which some demands are more likely to emerge than others. Specifically, I examine how citizens engage and make demands on their governments in the context of weak institutional accountability.
The 1960s wave of protests held across the world was unprecedented with respect to the number of demands made to governments by protest participants. During this time, protests were motivated by women’s rights, gender relations, ethnicity, price increases, and environmental protection, among a longer list of claims. Since then, the number of distinct substantive demands brought forward in protests has only increased in number. However, the fact that protest demands are now more widespread across many issue areas is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest protests recorded in history were far more focused around single issues and emphasized structural grievances. The issues at stake during these conflicts rarely cut across other areas in these societies. Today’s demands, along with those that started in the 1960s, emphasize social transformation in addition to more enduring traditional claims. A look at historical trends of demand-making reveals a clear pattern of growth in the number of demands that now permeates all areas of life: the political, economic and social. Yet, despite this increasing global trend, not all countries or regions have moved evenly.
The increasing trend of demand making through protest and the heterogeneity across countries is the focus of my dissertation. My dissertation project, Protesting for More: Corruption, Democracy and the Making of Demands. is focused on examining the relationship between political corruption, democracy and the number of demands channeled using protest as the main vehicle of political participation. A central question surfacing in the wake of the aforementioned growth in demands transmitted through contentious activity is why citizens are voicing more of their demands via protest, thus, increasingly choosing contentious forms of engagement while sidelining more institutional forms of political participation.
Beyond the study of protest, I am also interested in and have an active research agenda on, attitudes towards democracy, political participation in autocracies, elections in Latin America, indigenous attitudes in Bolivia, and the informal sector across Latin American countries. Across those topics, I have publications at the British Journal of Political Science, Foreign Policy Analysis, World Development, and Revista Latinoamericana de Opinion Publica , and several projects in progress.