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INdividual SUrveys in RAllies (INSURA), A new tool for exploring transnational activism?
UNIL IEPI CRAPUL
Number of pages
Prior the middle of the 90', interviewing participants in protest events was quiet rare. INdividual SUrveys in RAllies (INSURA) did enter the social researcher's usual toolkit only in the following decade after Favre, Fillieule and Mayer (1997) conducted such a survey with as a primary ambition to build a solid methodological framework that could be subsequently applied by other researchers. After some years of intensive use of INSURA, one is entitled to wonder whether that technique has fulfilled social researchers' hopes or not. In that paper, results of a collective work on alter-global rallies in Evian and Saint- Denis are used to answer three interrelated questions. Firstly, some basic methodological questions about how to collect data on crowds are adressed. What are the specific constraints of interviewing people at the very moment they are "expressing" a political opinion? What specific constraints result from the morphology of the covered events, that is to say, how to build a valid sampling frame? The authors then turn to a more general point about the questions that can be solved, or not, using that technique. Secondly it is the strenghts and weaknesses of INSURA in exploring the transnational dimension of alter global protests that is adressed. The authors show that INSURA is certainly well suited to explore the demographics of alter-global events, as well as relational networks of individuals and multiple belongings. On the contrary, it is assumed that organization networks and movement's boundaries are far more difficult to explore through that method, a fact that seriously limits international cross comparisons of events and movements based on that tool.
Demonstrations, Social movements, Protest events, no global movements, transnational protests
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