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Protest Wave or Protest Spike?

An Examination of European Protest Activity, 2008–2012

Matthew Schoene

Many scholars have cited the social unrest stemming from the European sovereign debt crisis as a prime example of a protest wave ( della Porta and Mattoni 2014 ; Flesher Fominaya 2015 ; Gerbaudo 2013 ). Protest is an accepted form of political

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Pollyanna Ruiz

In The Practice of Everyday Life, de Certeau likens himself to a Solar Eye reading the city spread out like a text below. He compares this all-seeing position to the enmeshed position of those whose intermingled footsteps pass through the city streets, writing stories that deliberately elude legibility. These two ways of experiencing the city offer a theoretical frame through which I will explore both the administration of protest spaces, and protesters’ ongoing attempts to subvert and evade those controls. In doing so, this contribution will examine the way in which the police practice of kettling depends upon the police’s ability to draw a series of distinctions between ‘good’ protesters who comply with state demands, and ‘bad’ protesters who err from official routes. It will go onto to explore the way in which the practice of maptivism impacts upon protesters’ ability to occupy city spaces and resist the totalizing administrations of the state.

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Rage and Protest

The Case of the Greek Indiginant Movement

Marilena Simiti

In 2011 numerous 'Occupy' and anti-austerity protests took place across Europe and the United States. Passionate indignation at the failure of political elites became a mobilizing force against formal political institutions. In Greece a mass movement known as the Aganaktismeni (the Indignant) became the main agent of social resistance to the memorandum signed by the Greek government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The Greek movement did not take the form of a social movement sharing a collective identity. Left-wing protestors played a prominent role. Protestors embracing right-wing populist frames also participated actively in collective mobilizations, while segments of the extreme right attempted to manipulate rage to their advantage. During the Greek Indignant movement civil society remained a terrain contested by conflicting political forces. This unique feature of the Greek movement posed a completely different challenge to the principles of diversity and inclusiveness than the one debated within the Spanish Indignados and the Occupy protests. Furthermore, it illustrates that rage and indignation may spark dissimilar forms of political contention. Hence, rage and indignation do not merely motivate ‘passive citizens’ to participate in collective protest. They are linked to cognitive frames and individual preferences, which influence protestors’ claims and mobilizations’ political outcomes. Accordingly, advances in democratization and inclusive citizenship are only one of the possible outcomes of mobilizations prompted by rage and indignation.

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Marjo de Theije

Based on research in Brazil, the author discusses three local situations of conflict and social protest, using a transnational perspective. She concentrates on the use of universal claims of Catholicism in local negotiations of religious change under the influence of different cultural campaigns. The clashes in question are divided into those involving local political problems and those concerning the religious domain itself. The analysis shows that in each of the cases—albeit with different intensity and outcome—the interconnection between translocal processes and the meaning and experience of locality has a significant role in the power plays and the formulations of religious or social protest in the local context.

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2012 Quebec Student Protests

Some Observations on Motives, Strategies, and Their Consequences on the Reconfigurations of State and Media

Audrey Laurin-Lamothe and Michel Ratte

The first part of this article reports the main events of the 2012 student protest in Quebec leading to the government’s adoption of Bill 12. It highlights the major ideological conflict generated through the liberal managerial mutation of the academic institutions as a key to understand more clearly the student’s claims. Rapidly, the standard strike was transformed into a massive mobilization that produced many protests and other forms of resistance. The response given by the government to these unprecedented acts of resistance was Bill 12, to be understood as a symbolic coup d’état with voluntarily disruptive media effects whose aim was to make people forget the massive rejection of a pseudo tentative agreement in relation to Higher Education reform. The bill was also supported through the abusive and twisted use by the government of a series of buzzwords, like “bullying” and “access to education”, which were relayed by the media. The authors also discuss the issues surrounding the traditional conceptions regarding the analysis of discourses, mobilizing Orwell’s concept of doublethink and the notion of selfdeception inherited form Sartre.

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Matthew Schoene

Institutional distrust has become a pervasive element of global society in general and European society in particular. Concurrently, participation in institutions is also declining, raising concerns about the effectiveness of civil society. Distrust of institutions like the political, education, legal-judicial, and law enforcement systems is linked to declining participation in mainstream political behaviors like voting, but it is unclear how individuals’ trust of and participation in certain institutions affects social movement activity and participation in protest. Here, I use recent European protest movements to better understand the link between institutional distrust, institutional participation, and social protest. Using the 7th wave of the European Social Survey, I construct several multilevel mixed-effects logistic regressions predicting participation in four forms of protest: signing petitions, boycotting products, wearing protest badges, and participating in demonstrations. It turns out that, while institutional distrust is moderately and positively linked to certain forms of protest, those who partake in mainstream political institutions are far more likely to participate in all forms of protest.

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Danielle Brady

The struggle to save the Beeliar Wetlands, an urban remnant bushland in Perth, Western Australia, demonstrates elements of both urban social and urban environmental movements. At the end of 2016, 30 years of objection to the continuation of the Roe Highway development (Roe 8) culminated in months of intense protest leading up to a state election and a cessation of work in 2017. During the long-running campaign, protestors fought to preserve high-conservation-value bushland that was contained in the planned road reserve. At the heart of this dispute were competing spatial uses. This article will analyze four protest actions from the dispute using Henri Lefebvre’s concept of the production of space, and will demonstrate that the practices of protest gave those fighting to preserve Roe 8 the agency to reinscribe meaning to the natural uses of the Beeliar Wetlands over and against the uses privileged by the state.

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Shutting Down Protest

Policing, International Summitry, and the G20 Experiment in Brisbane

Binoy Kampmark

protesters is being increasingly insulated and marginalized from such gatherings. In Brisbane 2014, the G20 summit witnessed one of the more successful efforts at limiting and in most cases shutting down public protest in its entirety. The narrative of

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Social Protest and Its Discontents

A System Justification Perspective

Vivienne Badaan, John T. Jost, Danny Osborne, Chris G. Sibley, Joaquín Ungaretti, Edgardo Etchezahar and Erin P. Hennes

when it comes to decisions about whether or not to protest ( Elster 1993 ). For example, Melvin Lerner ( 1980: 14 ) proposed that images of a “manageable and predictable world” are essential to the pursuit of long-term goals. Consequently, people “want

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Never Mind the Ballots

The Edible Ballot Society and the Performance of Citizenship

Matthew Hayes

During the 2000 Canadian federal election, predominantly at the polls in Edmonton, Alberta, members of a group known as the Edible Ballot Society (EBS) protested what they considered to be the “futility of electoral politics” by eating their ballots