(McAdam 1983) Tactical innovation and the pace of insurgency

McAdam, Doug. Tactical innovation and the pace of insurgency. American Sociological Review. 1983 Dec;48(6):735–754. Available from: http://www.webcitation.org/65trah3RA.

Using statistical analysis of newspaper reports from the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, McAdam makes a case that the cyclical or wave nature of political insurgencies is driven by an iterative process of tactical interaction in which new tactics developed by the insurgents (“tactical innovation”) are countered by new responses developed by their establishment opponents (“tactical adaptation”). McAdam argues that the development of new tactics is essential to the success of insurgent movements, because “even the most successful tactic is likely to be effectively countered by movement opponents if relied upon too long”, unless the movement succeeds in attaining “significant institutionalized power”.


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