chapter  15
38 Pages

The Five Mechanisms of Suppression

Sociologist Aage Sorensen (1998, 242) notes that "Social processes are complicated phenomena. The task of theory," he asserts, "is to simplify them and characterize them in terms of their essential elements." The suppression of dissent is one such complicated phenomenon. Now that I have engaged in historical explorations of a number of episodes of contention, excavating the actions that the state and mass media carried out to demobilize social movements, it is time to distill these episodes into their "essential elements." This entails showing how these actions are in fact transactions and that the entire interactional process is animated by causal mechanisms. Chapters Three through Fourteen were process tracings of specific contentious episodes. In this chapter I will shift levels of analysis from the typology of state and mass-media Modes of Suppression-composed of particular actions taken in particular historical episodes-to a delineation of the underlying mechanisms that explain how the actions cause the process of demobilization.