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Practicing Populist Mobilization

Practicing Populist Mobilization

Experimentation, Imitation, and Excitation

(p.153) 5 Practicing Populist Mobilization
Revolutionizing Repertoires
Robert S. Jansen
University of Chicago Press

Political innovation is a process that unfolds over time. New practices have to be tested on the ground, in specific situations in which others are also acting. Accordingly, this chapter follows the development of populist mobilization practices over the course of the last few months of electoral campaigning in Peru’s 1931 election, paying particular attention to how the political actors adapted their innovative practices to the context at hand, as well as to how these practices were refined over time as the actors assessed their own actions and responded to the actions of their competitors. It argues that the dynamic of competition between the two political parties, and their assessments of their own strategic successes—that is, their experiential learning from themselves and from one another—led to a ratcheting up of the practices that they had been enacting since May. Focusing in particular on the Unión Revolucionaria and APRA parties’ grassroots organizing efforts, their practices at mass rallies, and their political rhetoric, it shows how populist mobilization crystallized and gained in coherence between July and October of 1931.

Keywords:   APRA, electoral campaigning, grassroots organizing, Peru, political innovation, political parties, populist mobilization, rallies, rhetoric, Unión Revolucionaria

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