Introduction: Thisresearch proposal will consider the relationship between post-material protestdemands and the percentage of protest free-riders in determining the strengthof civil society. Hypothesis:Ashift from material to post-material demands in protests will increase thepercentage of free-riders, thus weakening civil society.
Definition of key concepts:Following Aronoffand Kubik’s definition (2013: 202-204), civilsociety is a transparent secondary society, characterised by tolerance,horizontal and democratic style of decision making, all of which is set withinthe boundaries of a full legality relationship with the state. Material needs mainly concernwith “material scarcities and lack of economic development that lead to apopular emphasis on economic growth and security.” (Ishiyama, 2012: 100) Post-materialneeds concern with “values, such as personal freedom and politicalparticipation, and quality of life issues.” (Ishiyama, 2012: 100) To free ride means “to extract the benefits ofother people’s work without making any effort one- self.” (Newton and Deth,2013: 298) The free-rider is theperson who free rides. Justification of choice of dependentvariable: percentage of protest free-riders Oneway to measure the strength of civil society is through its efficiency duringprotests. This research proposal will consider the percentage of free riders inprotests a determinant of civil society’s strength.
Thisvariable is worth taking into account because the impact of civil society onthe percentage of free-riders has less external interferences. That means thatwhilst, for example, the size of civil society can be influenced by policies,funders or other outside factors, the percentage of protest free-riders mainlydeals with how civil society manages to motivate citizens to protest, thus withits efficiency. Subsequently,for the purpose of this coursework, an increase in the percentage offree-riders indicates a less effective civil society, thus a decrease in itsstrength. Justification of choice of independentvariable: shift in protest demandsAccordingto Inglehart and toMaslow’s hierarchy of human needs people pursue aims in a hierarchical order,fulfilling their material needs first, food and sustenance, progressivelyshifting to non-material needs, civil liberties, quality of life (Ishiyama,2012: 100). This shift in needs is naturally reflected in the type of protestdemands: material and post-material. There are two mainreasons that make this independent variable worth being taken into account: arelational one and a methodological one.
Therelational reason connects the dependent and the independent variables through people’smotivation to protest. Besides civil society’s effectiveness, protest demandsare also a factor that influence people’s motivation to protest or not. Thatis, different categories of people are going to be motivated to protestdepending on their income, their priorities, how much they benefit from thestatus-quo, their social status and the list could go on. Themethodological reason deals with the low difficulty of measuring theindependent variable.
Protest records are an accessible resource used to categorisematerial and post-material demands in protests and their shift overtime, andthus research results can be more accurate. Other significant independentvariables:Othersignificant independent variables might include protest regulations, thepoliticisation of trade unions, social inequalities, demographics. Literature review:Inthe political science literature, the strength of civil society is measured fromboth a micro and a macro perspective. Themicro perspective mainly looks at civic engagement when analysing theefficiency of civil society (Putnam 1993, Andersen/Paskeviciute 2006: 784,Priller 2002: 42). The two are generally presumed to be directly proportional, thusthe higher the number of participants in protests, the stronger the civilsociety is. Besidesstrengthening democracy, a stronger civic engagement is a social stage ofinteraction among citizens thus providing with inclusion potential.
Civicengagement as an expression of common needs and demands brings people togetherempowering them with a sense of belonging and self-determination. Thisphenomenon is a great incentive for citizens to see themselves as possible(direct) solutions to some of the state’s attributes in matters of developmentor welfare (Fioramonti et al. 2008, Fowler 1994).Themacro perspective looks at institutionalisation, self-determination, density,economic size, and diversity as ways of measuring the strength of civilsociety.Institutionalisation:CSOsrepresent the infrastructure of civil society and the means to effectively attaingoals and demands. These organisations symbolise the “living space” in whichcivil society can thrive. An institutional environment can thus enhance theefficiency of promoting demands and can legitimise democratic representation ofa certain sector of population (Bendel/Kropp 1998: 52, Lauth 1999,Hadenius/Uggla 1996, Brown/Tandon 1994, Brown/Kalegaonkar 2002, USAID 2006: 10,Bothwell 1998, Diamond 1994, Waisman 2002, Zimmer 2003, Kopecký/Banfield 1999).Therefore, because a stronger infrastructure provides the means for civil civilsociety’s development, it can be a way of measuring it.
Self-determination:Tobe able to stand as a powerful actor, civil society must provide proof of itsself-determination. (Schmitter 1986; 6 Eisenstadt 1992: x, Oxhorn 1995b: 25,Waisman 2006: 23) Thus, the more civil society can legitimate its claims andassure the objectiveness of its requests the stronger it is. Density:Onceinstitutional infrastructure is achieved, civil society’s density (depending onthe population) is also of paramount importance for its development (Salamon/Sokolowski2006, Crowley/Skocpol 2001, Gamm/Putnam 1999, Burke 2001). However, the numberof CSOs is not enough to determine the engagement of the population because, inthis case, quantitative indicators will need to be correlated to qualitativeones in order to provide a fair image of the strength of civil society.Economic size: Civilsociety’s economic weight is often used to measure its impact. By looking at theshare of paid employment in the non-profit sector, compared to other workingsectors (Salamon et al. 1999: 5) the weight of civil society, and thus itsstrength can be measured.Diversity:Thiselement is often used to measure the variety of domains.
An NGO that deals witha variety of aspects of a certain field is more powerful than one whichoperates in several areas of interests with little connection between them.(Salamon/Sokolowski 2004b, Les et al. 2004: 69, Maloney/Rossteutscher 2007a:53)Thisessay will look at the micro approach, more precisely, at protest free-ridersas a measure of civil engagement, and thus, of civil society strength.Justification for case selection: Thetwo cases proposed are Russia under Yeltsin and Russia under Putin. Whenreferring to Putin’s mandates the analysis will include not only his time asserving president, but also as prime-minister. The study will follow the MostSimilar Systems Design due to various reasons. Firstof all, the time-span is relatively short. Most probably we are dealing withthe same generation of protesters or with their children.
Thus, the protesterswill have the same, or at least similar, values and history. Secondly,the state apparatus has not changed much since the fall of the USSR and itworks under the same 1993 Constitution during Yeltsin and Putin.Thirdly,the geographical distribution under Putin is very similar to the one underYeltsin (with a few exceptions like Chechnya or Crimea) which also makes itclearer when analysing trends in protest demands overtime, especially the shiftfrom material demands outside Moscow and St Petersburg around the 2000s andpost-material demands widely spread in big cities after 2007.
Russiaas a choice of country is also a good case when analysing civil societystrength because it disproves the canonical western expectation that post-materialdemands strengthen civil society. Thus, diving into the analysis of theimpact of protest demands on the percentage of free riders as a measure ofcivil society strength, there shall be taken into account figures 1 and 2. Robertson’s research clearly shows thatprotest demands have shifted from material, under Yeltsin, to post-material, underPutin (Roberston, 2013: 20). The ‘wild nineties’ left most Russians with “stories ofdeprivation and unpaid wages” (Judah 2013: 13).
Most miners, teachers andstate-workers did not receive their salaries in time, which only reinforced theeconomic grievance Russia was going through. It was reflected in the protests,which were spread all over the country (Fig. 3) showing how spread the problemwas, and in the demands of the protesters (Fig. 1).
There were little protestsconcerning post-material demands (civil rights, political changes, or electioncontesting), which started growing throughout the 2000s. Starting with 2007(Fig 2) protesters started claiming civil rights, changes in policy andenvironmental. The shift in demands was an effect of the better economicsituation of the country. Protests started condensing towards the big cities(Fig. 4) as post-material demands became more and more popular.Fig. 1 (Robertson, 2013: 18) Fig. 2 (Robertson, 2013: 19) Fig.
3 (Robertson, 2013: 20) Fig. 4 (Robertson,2013: 20)Having explained theindependent variable emphasising the transition from material to post-materialdemands, we shall proceed to linking it to the dependent one. Fig. 5 (Levada Centre, 2017a, 2017b) Fig. 6 (Levada Centre, 2017a, 2017b) Figure5 and 6 are based on gathered data from surveys conducted by the Levada Centreand graph the percentage of responses to the two questions taken into accountfor this proposal. The first question was formulated as following: “In your opinion, how possible is it ofpeople in your city/village might hold mass demonstrations about decreasedquality of life and/or in defense of their rights?” It is summarised in thegraphs under the shorter phrasing “people expected to protest”.
The secondquestion, “If this kind of mass protestoccurred, would you personally participate?”, is summarised in the graphsas “people willing to protest”. The difference between the two responses isconsidered to be the percentage of free-riders because there are more peoplewho are going to free-ride from the actions of their fellow citizens thanpeople who will take part in the action. Asit can be observed in Fig. 5, the biggest percentage of free-riders exists in2012 and in 2017. The possible explanation for this gap is that both the 2012and the 2017 protests dealt with highly post-material demands.
In 2012 thedemands rapidly shifted from concerning free and fair elections to moregeneralised claims regarding civil liberties. The 2017 protest on Putin’sbirthday also dealt with post-material demands, more precisely asking for amore democratic system and for civil liberties. Thus, where the demands are theclosest to being purely post-material, the percentage of free-riders increases. InFigure 6 we can see a clear increase in the percentage of free-riders after2008, as protests also became more post-material (Fig. 2). A possibleexplanation for this increasing percentage is the extent to which peopleidentify with the demands. Material demands weight heavier than post-materialdemands, because they deal with the survival of the protester.
At a micro level,a person will be more motivated to protest to receive their salary and be ableto feed themselves, than to protest for LGBT rights. Thus, when a stringentneed (material) determines a person to protest, that person will not rely onother work colleagues/neighbours to protest in their place and will make theeffort to reclaim its rights. However, when the basic human needs aresatisfied, a certain percentage of the people will free-ride. (fig.
6) Possible weakness of the methodologyused: It is good to keepin mind that these surveys refer to expectations of the people interviewed,thus all the percentages in the graphs express expected scores. However, theseexpected scores are relevant as they could determine people to protest or not. Speculative conclusion: Ahigher number of post-material protest demands increase the percentage ofprotest free-riders, thus weakening civil society.