Risa J. Toha
Yale-NUS College, , Singapore
How does religion shape protest participation? From the U.S. Civil Rights movement, the Saffron Revolution, to the Arab Spring, religion has played an important mobilizational role in many political protests around the world. But whether and how religion motivates individuals to participate in protests remains unclear. One the one hand, religion may have depressive effects on protest mobilization due to its legitimization of the status quo (Marx 1967). On the other, religion may contain a `cultural toolkit’ that facilitates protests (Swidler 1986). In this paper, we argue that religion has differential effects on individuals’ decision to protest, depending on the contents of individuals’ religious beliefs. Individuals who subscribe to conservative religious teachings are more prone to report higher levels of protest participation than those who belong to religious communities that advocate for more progressive values. We provide empirical evidence from an original survey of 1,440 individuals in Indonesia in the run up to the 2019 presidential election. These results bear important implications for the study of religion and politics.
Risa Toha is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale-National University of Singapore. Her research examines ethnic politics and political violence, particularly in Southeast Asia. After attaining her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, Toha held fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Stanford University.