What happens to insurgent social movements that emerge during a democratic transition but fail to achieve their goals? Are they able to survive their initial mobilizing boom? To answer these questions, María Inclán looks at Mexico's Zapatista movement, arguing that it is caught between "sliding doors" of opportunity. The Zapatistas were able to mobilize sympathy and support for the indigenous agenda inside and outside of the country, yet failed to achieve their goals vis-à-vis the Mexican state. Nevertheless, the movement has survived and sustained its autonomy despite lacking legal recognition.
María Inclán is Profesora-Investigadora at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City. Her areas of research are social movements and democratization processes, with a focus on social movements within democratic transitions, individual triggers of protest participation, and social movements discourse framing. She recently published The Zapatista Movement and Mexico’s Democratic Transition (Oxford University Press, 2018).