Pulled, Pushed and Persuaded: Explaining Women’s Mobilization into the Salvadoran Guerrilla Army


Viterna, Jocelyn. 2006. “Pulled, Pushed and Persuaded: Explaining Women’s Mobilization into the Salvadoran Guerrilla Army.” American Journal of Sociology 112 (1): 1-45.

Author: Jocelyn Viterna


Using a rare representative sample of grassroots activists and nonactivists, this study identifies three paths that consistently led Salvadoran women to involvement in the FMLM guerrilla army: politicized guerillas, reluctant guerillas, and recruited guerillas. These mobilization paths arose from the patterned intersections of individual-level biographies, networks, and situational contexts. The implications of these findings extend beyond studies of revolutionary activism to analyses of microlevel mobilization in general. Activists are heterogeneous and often follow multiple paths to the same participation outcome. Capturing these multiple paths is imperative for generating theoretically sound explanations of mobilization that are also empirically effective in distinguishing activists from nonactivists.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: El Salvador

Year: 2006

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