How Military Recruitment Affects Collective Action and its Outcomes


  • For valuable comments on early drafts of this article, the author would like to thank Sarit Helman, Sidney Tarrow, Joseph Paul Vasquez, and two anonymous reviewers.


Levy, Yagil (2012) How Military Recruitment Affects Collective Action and its Outcomes. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2012.00762.x
© 2012 International Studies Association

This paper aims to advance the research on the conjunction of two fields—antiwar protest and casualty aversion—by offering a conceptual development of the role of military recruitment in affecting casualty sensitivity–incited antiwar mobilization. Scholars have shown that sensitivity to losses is not a constant variable. Its reflection in the public sphere is affected by variables clustered together as “the politics of war,” such as sense of threat, mission success, number of casualties, and elite consensus, which can be mediated by collective actors. However, the role of the mode of military recruitment in influencing collective action in the military realm has been neglected. It is argued that the mode of military recruitment mediates collective actors’ ability to leverage the politics of war to challenge dominant discourse and influence war policy, owing to the cumulative impact of four recruitment-related variables: republicanism, social power, the favoring of “voice,” and bounded discourse. All shape the movement’s framing and resources in a way that affects mobilization.