The Rebel's Dilemma
University of Michigan Press, 1995 - 514 pages
Since the mid-1960s, theorists have elaborated over two dozen different solutions to the collective action problem. During much of this same period, students of conflict have explored many questions about protest and rebellion. The Rebel's Dilemma examines what happens when one brings the full richness of collective action theories to bear on the many complex problems of collective dissent. The book develops a new typology of solutions to the collective action problem: market, community, contract, and hierarchy. It then uses the typology to explain how the Rebel's Dilemma (i.e., the problem applied to collective dissent) is overcome by rebels. In placing two dozen different sets of solutions into this typology, four themes are developed. First, the Rebel's Dilemma is not all that much of a dilemma. If the collective action problem can be solved in some two dozen ways, it cannot pose an insurmountable hurdle for potential dissidents. Second, both dissidents and regimes know that the Rebel's Dilemma can be overcome. While dissidents try to solve their collective action problem, the regime tries to intensify that problem. This struggle over solutions to the collective action problem is the political struggle between regimes and oppositions. Third, analysts must specify the conditions under which collective action is effective. Finally, the collective action approach makes a major contribution to conflict studies. By dissecting the causes and consequences of solutions to the Rebel's Dilemma, the approach offers a set of implications that are far richer than anything offered by its competitors.
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action activities actors appeal approach argues argument attempt become believe benefits cause chap collective dissent competition consequences consider contract contributions cooperation costs coup create demands demonstrate dent develop dissident entrepreneurs dissident groups dissident organizations effective example existing expectations explain facilitates Finally followers forces goals grievances Gurr Hence idea important increases individual influence institutions interests involved issue lead leaders less mass means military mobilization models movements mutual offers opposition original participation particular parties patrons peasant political possible potential preexisting preferences Press probability problem processes produce proposition protest protest and rebellion question rational reason Rebel's Dilemma regime research program revolution revolutionary Second sect seek selective incentives social society solutions solve strategy structure struggle studies success suggests tactics tend theories tion types violence winning workers