Spatial Dynamics of Contentious Politics: Mass Mobilization in the Arab Uprisings



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Understanding why protests grow in size and scale in some places but not in others is an often asked question for which there are numerous potential explanatory factors. This dissertation focuses on the influence that spatiality has on the underlying mechanisms at work in the processes of social mobilization and protest scale shift. Using Protest Event Analysis to collect and analyze data from hundreds of individual protest events compiled from news media sources, I employ a mechanism-process approach to investigate how the space and place of protests impacts the size and scale of protests in Egypt and Jordan in 2011. This dissertation argues that there are critical spatial factors that are underrepresented and undertheorized in the contentious politics literature that alter the nature of mechanisms related to collective action and help explain some of the divergent process outcomes of protest episodes in the MENA region and beyond.