The authors' original research project provides new evidence that collective protest constituted a significant part of Polish political life during the first years of post-communist transformations. The paper demonstrates that the magnitude of protest increased from 1989 to 1993. Major features of protest politics are described: participants' social backgrounds, organizations sponsoring or leading protest, repertoire of contention, demands, targets of protest actions, and finally state responses and protest effectiveness. The main conclusion is that although protest was intense and politically significant, it was at the same time highly institutionalized. The concept of institutionalized contentiousness captures this phenomenon.

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