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The Political Context of Action

The Political Context of Action

Collective Actor Formation in a Dynamic Political Field

Chapter:
(p.79) 3 The Political Context of Action
Source:
Revolutionizing Repertoires
Author(s):
Robert S. Jansen
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226487588.003.0004

This chapter, which focuses on the political context of action, explains how two collectivities of previously marginalized political actors, with personal and organizational characteristics that would dispose them to creative political action, crystallized and then came to find themselves in unlikely positions of viability on the national stage in Peru by May 1931. It argues that this was not an automatic byproduct of the changing social-structural conditions, but rather the result of contingent events and interactions unfolding within a dynamically changing field of political contention. Empirically, the chapter traces shifts in political relationships (both cooperative and antagonistic), as well as the formation and dissolution of collective actors, across four significant periods of reconfiguration of the political field that took place between 1918 and 1931. The ultimate state of the political field, and the resulting composition and characteristics of the collective actors, set the stage for the forces of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre and Luis M. Sánchez Cerro—as contingently empowered political outsiders—to take their first steps toward political innovation in May of 1931.

Keywords:   collective actors, context of action, contingency, Luis M. Sánchez Cerro, Peru, political action, political field, political innovation, political outsiders, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre

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