The debate about the rise of civil society in Mexico suggests that the processes of political and economic liberalization are multiple and uneven and, thus, have different and contradictory effects on different social groups. This study takes such arguments into account and examines the nature of collective identities and social networks that are more likely to be mobilized in the rising civil society. Who, with what types of social networks and identities, are the active actors in this rising civil society in Mexico? This study also attempts to identify the central actors who take an active part in multi-sector coalitions. As such a broad coalition often leaves profound effects on politics and society, it is vital to ask which actors are likely to take an important step toward multi-sector coalition making. Using a catalog of 1797 protest campaigns collected from three Mexican newspapers between 1964 and 2000, event frequency analysis is employed to find active actors and social network analysis – blockmodel method and degree centrality measure – is applied to uncover central actors. The analyses reveal that while workers, peasants, or students continue to be very active, the centrality of these actors in contentious networks and coalitions has not increased. New central actors in the rising civil society turn out to be civic associations and NGOs formed around single issues, such as environment, retirement, and human rights. When a multi-sector coalition occurs in contemporary Mexico, NGOs and civic associations are likely to play a crucial role in it.


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