Framing Non-Violent Protest and Insurgency: Boko Haram and MASSOB in Nigeria

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Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2018-07-24
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Politikwissenschaft
Advisor: Hasenclever, Andreas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2016-07-28
DDC Classifikation: 320 - Political science
Keywords: Bürgerkrieg , Soziale Bewegung , Terrorismus , Islamismus , Selbstbestimmung , Nigeria , Biafra , Boko Haram
Other Keywords:
Armed Conflict
Social Movements
License: Publishing license including print on demand
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Why do some protest movements use violent means whereas others protest peacefully under similar circumstances? The determinants of violence have been extensively studied in rebellion research. Key explanations point to Opportunity and “Greed”, Grievances, and Patronage Politics. Yet, these macro-structural and overly rationalist theories often fail to explain why movements differ in their protest strategies amid a similar context. A case in point is two movements from Nigeria: Boko Haram and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). While the former’s protest escalated into insurgency, the latter has used non-violent means. To solve this puzzle, I employ the framing approach from social movement research as an ideational and micro-level perspective. By means of framing, I examine how the leaders of Boko Haram and MASSOB called for action, how they developed their mobilization calls, and whether these resonated with the respective audience. I argue that framing explains the different protest strategies by highlighting crucial differences in the collective action frames and demonstrating their resonance. Concomitantly, the leaders’ agency and the cultural context contributed significantly to shaping the framing. Thereby, the study proves the relevance of micro-level processes of meaning-making for the occurrence of civil war or non-violent campaigning.

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