Christopher Hale on Religion & Protest in Mexico
Date: May 1st, 2016

Over the past several decades, political and social protests have erupted across Mexico, though they have tended to be concentrated in some regions more than others.  What explains this variation, and more importantly, what role does religion play in fomenting grassroots political activism?  Prof. Christopher Hale, assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, explains that decentralized religious organization plays an important role in providing the means for groups of individuals to voice discontent.  Using the case of Mexico, Prof. Hale notes that religiously-motivated political action has been more common in Chiapas than in Yucatan.  Chris lays out a theory that rests upon the decentralization of a religious organization and how lay leadership help to solve collective action problems through more effective monitoring and sanctioning of behavior.  He ties this together with other factors such as political theology and religious competition.  Chris reflects on how this project prompted him to think more about ideology with respect to institutional incentive structures.   Throughout the interview, Tony keeps prompting Chris to cite Tony’s early research, and he eventually does.  Whew! Recorded: April 26, 2016.


Christopher Hale’s bio at the Dept. of Political Science, University of Alabama.

Christopher Hale’s personal webpage.

Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Society at Chapman University (mentioned in podcast).

The Rebel’s Dilemma, by Mark I. Lichbach (mentioned in podcast).

Popular Movements in Autocracies, by Guillermo Trejo (mentioned in podcast).

Rendering unto Caesar, by Anthony Gill ([finally!] mentioned in podcast).

Waffle House (mentioned in podcast).


Carolyn Warner on Religion and Generosity.

Ruth Melkonian on Latin American Protestants.

Robert Woodberry on Missionaries and Democracy.

Daniel Philpott on Religious Resurgence and Democratization.

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