How Repertoires Evolve: The Diffusion of Suicide Protest in the Twentieth Century

Michael Biggs
2013 Mobilization  
Although "repertoire of contention" is a ubiquitous term in the literature, the concept remains undertheorized and untested. The crucial implication, I argue, is that instances of a tactic belong to one or a few lineages, each radiating from a single invention and comprising a series of adoptions and repetitions. This implication is tested by examining suicide protest: killing oneself, without harming others, for a collective cause. The decline in cruel public punishment and the growth of news
more » ... the growth of news media increased the potential utility of this tactic. There were multiple inventions of suicide protest, but only in Japan was there a recognizable lineage in the early twentieth century. The sacrifice of a Vietnamese monk in 1963 created a model, which was adopted in many different countries for varied collective causes. Almost all subsequent acts can be traced—directly or indirectly—back to this origin.
doi:10.17813/maiq.18.4.njnu779530x55082 fatcat:464rfu5xujexbfbyk4tm2hcpse