Critical Event Analysis of Civilian Massacres and anti-Colonial Protests in India and China, 1919-1925

Mark Frazier, New School for Social Research

Lethal acts of state repression have indeterminant effects on subsequent protest cycles (Earl 2011; Hess and Martin 2006; Francisco 2005). On some occasions repression results in a “backfire effect,” triggering outrage and mobilizing broader opposition, while on other occasions it deters further resistance by making protest too costly. But the backfire versus deterrence binary is overly restrictive. This paper uses two cases from the history of anticolonial movements in Asia to show how lethal shootings of protestors by colonial authorities triggered an event sequence that led to further acts of both mobilization and repression. Critical event analysis and process-tracing are used to identify causal pathways whereby each shooting incident set in motion an event sequence that produced an unanticipated political outcome at the time: new forms of revolutionary nationalist politics in India and China.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 158. Protest and Reform