Little empirical research exists on major changes in the strategies and tactics of social movements, but some researchers argue that organizational readiness and political opportunities produce such changes. This article examines the circumstances that led some state woman suffrage movements to use a bold new tactic, the suffrage parade, beginning in the early twentieth century. An event-history analysis reveals that organizational readiness and political opportunities had little to do with change in the suffragists' strategic approach. Rather, the change occurred when movements consisted of a diverse assortment of organizations, when movement organizations were less centrally structured, when conflict existed among movement members, when movements engaged in fundraising, and when the suffragists had recently experienced significant political defeat. The model of tactical change presented here better explains the impetuses for such a shift than do earlier explanations.
Kraig Beyerlein, Peter Barwis, Cole Carnesecca & Bryant Crubaugh
The National Study of Protest Events (NSPE) employed hypernetwork sampling to generate the first-ever nationally representative sample of protest events. Nearly complete information about various event characteristics was collected from participants in 1,037 unique protests across the United States in 2010 to 2011. The first part of this article reviews extant methodologies in protest-event research and discusses how the NSPE overcomes their recognized limitations. Next, we detail how the NSPE was conducted and present descriptive statistics for a number of important event characteristics. The hypernetwork sample is then compared to newspaper reports of protests. As expected, we find many differences in the types of events these sources capture. At the same time, the overall number and magnitude of the differences are likely to be surprising. By contrast, little variation is observed in how protesters and journalists described features of the same events. NSPE data have many potential applications in the field of contentious politics and social movements, and several possibilities for future research are outlined.
In summer 2011, Israel was swept by unprecedented political protest as multiple encampments occupied streets and mass rallies were held weekly in Tel Aviv and other cities. The article focuses on the spatial politics of this protest, analysing the particular strategies it used to activise urban public space. The protest initially reflected a specific urban context and limited agenda—namely, the lack of affordable housing in Tel Aviv. However, as it materialised and expanded in public space, it also became more inclusive, incorporating more marginalised publics and places, addressing long-standing socio-spatial inequalities between Israel’s ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, and advancing a message of ‘social justice’—with the noted exception of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The analysis of the Israeli protest foregrounds some dynamics that it shares with other ‘global’ protests in 2011, from Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street, pointing to the spatial politics of centrality, multiplicity and ‘media-space’, a mutually enforcing relationship between physical public space and mainstream and social media.
This article interrogates the emerging modes of civic engagement connected to the mobile camera-phone, and the ways in which they require us to rethink what it is to bear witness to brutality in the age of fundamentally camera-mediated mass self-publication. I argue that the camera-phone permits entirely new performative rituals of bearing witness, such as dissenting bodies en masse recording their own repression and, via wireless global communication networks, effectively mobilizing this footage as graphic testimony in a bid to produce feelings of political solidarity. Critically, the performance of what I elect to call ‘citizen camera-witnessing’, as exemplified by contemporary street opposition movements including those in Burma, Iran, Egypt, Libya and Syria, derives its potency from the ways it reactivates the idea of martyrdom: that is, from its distinct claim to truth in the name of afflicted people who put their bodies on the line to record the injustice of oppression.
The policing of the anti-poll tax campaign allows an insight into how protest is incorporated. Protestors were both accommodated and coerced as police sought to balance various threats of 'trouble.' Concessions and overt assistance were offered as a means of 'winning over' the protest organizers, whilst legal conditions were imposed to ensure that any threat of disorder was contained. This analysis suggests that notions of an ubridled shift towards a more confrontational style of policing in the wake of the Public Order Act are unfounded. It illustrates the relationship between institutional and interactional social processes, for institutional considerations limit the police's room for manoeuvre, whilst low-level decisions by police officers themselves have implications for those institutions.
Fernandez-Planells, A., Figueras-Maz, M., & Pàmpols, C. F.
Recently, social movements worldwide have introduced innovations in their communication methods. The #spanishrevolution that started on 15 May 2011 shows this new-style communication in action. Amidst regional election campaigning, thousands of people, mainly young, took to the streets and occupied Spain’s main squares, becoming known as the Outraged (los Indignados) or 15M Movement. This article evaluates how the Outraged involved with the #acampadabcn, the camp in Barcelona’s central square, used online–offline tools to get information about the Movement. This research combines participant observation, surveys, in-depth interviews, and web analytics. The results show that social media were vital for getting information during 15M. While the majority of those surveyed became aware of the camps via word of mouth, a posteriori it was social media that were the main tools for informing and mobilizing. 15M Movement, together with networked social movements, has updated the communication methods of social movements.
In the mid-1990s, New York City initiated what would prove to be a long, highly visible struggle involving rights claims related to property, housing, and public space in the form of community gardens. The competing discourses of rights were part of a struggle over the kind of city that New York was to become, and more specifically, whether it would be one in which difference is accepted and in which access to the city and the public realm would be guaranteed. Using interviews with participants in the conflict over community gardens, we evaluate how the resolution to the gardens crisis, which in part occurred through the privatization of what are often taken to be public or community rights to land, transform not only the legal status of the gardens but also, potentially, their role as places where different ‘publics’ can both exercise their right to the city and solidify that right in the landscape.
During the process of modernization, a number of Islamic countries encouraged women to unveil. Among them, only Iran has recently returned to the earlier era of requiring women to veil themselves as the precondition of presence in public spaces. However, this time the difference was that women were already present in almost all public spaces: in universities, administrations, industries, and even in the government. Being marginalized after the revolution, Iranian women have learned how to overcome the obstacle of the veil. To maintain their presence and activity in public, they constantly reinvented new strategies to challenge the existing authority, by claiming, appropriating, and re-inventing new public spaces. Paradoxically, the reveiling of women and the gender segregation of public spaces helped many traditional women enter public spheres as social actors and to gain power, albeit in silence, in different socio-political and cultural fields. Today, more than ever, Iranian women try to conquer new public spaces/ public spheres with their transparent visibility and with a stress on their differences.
Analyzing the spatial genealogy of the student riots in May 1960 in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, this article investigates the relation between space and identity politics. Besides the social practices it contains, the “publicness” of space is also marked by the meanings and values attributed to the space by various social actors. The political participation of the social groups in public sphere becomes possible through spatial appropriation, which does not only mean the practical occupation of space but also the appropriation of the image of the (public) space. In the context of Ankara, the student riots transform Kizilay Square, which had been the prestigious center of a wealthy neighborhood, into a site of contesting spatial imageries and social identities.
Critics have long denounced the design of suburban communities for fostering political apathy. We disaggregate the concept of suburban design into four distinct attributes of neighborhoods. We then use tract-level Census data, the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, and multilevel models to measure the relationship between these design features and political participation. Certain design aspects common in suburban neighborhoods are powerful predictors of reduced political activity, illustrating a potential link between neighborhood design and politics. Yet low-density environments appear to facilitate some types of participation. Suburban designs vary, and so do their likely impacts on political participation.
As augmented reality (AR) is becoming technologically possible and publicly available through mobile smartphone and tablet devices, there has been relatively little empirical research studying how people are utilizing mobile AR technologies and forming social practices around mobile AR. This study looks at how mobile AR can potentially mediate the everyday practices of urban life. Through qualitative interviews with users of Layar, a mobile AR browser, we found several emerging uses. First, users are creating content on Layar in ways that communicate about and through place, which shapes their relationship and interpretations of places around them. Second, we found a growing segment of users creating augmented content that historicizes and challenges the meanings of place, while inserting their own narratives of place. Studying emerging uses of AR deepens our understanding of how emerging media may complicate practices, experiences, and relationships in the spatial landscape.
The main public spaces in European cities are the focus of much attention, whereas marginal public spaces are places of neglect and decline. The concentration of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in limited spaces creates a sense of entrapment. The social fragments that have been put next to each other in deprived neighbourhoods, either by market forces or by public planning, start to crack in public places of these neighbourhoods. On the one hand, intensive use of space by some groups excludes and intimidates others. On the other hand, the limited amount of public space is under the threat of encroachment by other demands on a finite commodity. In these places of fragmentation and competition, communication is often difficult, if not impossible, as different social groups speak different languages, have different attitudes and have different frameworks. A public space that allows this diversity to become aware of itself through free expression can be a significant asset for such a diverse population. Improving public places can improve the actual conditions of life in these neighbour- hoods, while injecting a sense of hope and a better image in the eyes of residents and the outside world. Although a key part of good governance, there is no doubt that this should be put in perspective, as one among a number of issues that need addressing.
This paper investigates migrant domestic workers as a marginalised group in Singapore's urban landscape by examining the ways in which their social maps are structured and negotiated in relation to public space. It argues that the phenomenon of the 'divided city' evident in capitalist societies which reflects and reinforces the sexual division of labour in general is even more salient in the lived experiences of migrant female domestic workers who must contend not simply with the spatial expressions of patriarchy, but also with racialisation and other means of segregation. However, it is clear that these women are not entirely passive recipients of dominant practices and ideas, but are capable of different styles and strategies in the use, colonisation and even contestation of public domains.
This study examines the first two years of a tactical innovation that emerged in 2012 in Egypt, which involved activist groups organizing patrol-type "intervention teams" to combat sexual violence against women in public spaces. Findings reveal that the new tactic took different forms in the two places in which it was deployed, even though the same actors employed it. I argue that the place in which a new tactic emerges shapes the form it takes. When coming up with a new collective action tactic, activists elaborate visions about how to carry out their actions based on their collective identities and taste in tactics. But as they start experimenting with the new tactic on the ground, they learn about the places' material affordances, symbolic valence, and power relations, as well as the constraints and opportunities that they represent. The material properties of places shape activists' possibilities of movement, patterns of communication, field of vision, and capacity to escape repression or reach safe spaces. The configuration of actors in a place shapes the nature of their interactions with others on the ground, possible alliances, and sources of conflict. The symbolic meanings of places shape the resonance of a group’s actions and the degree of resistance that actors face. Place in part determines the ability of activists to develop a tactic in the form that best fits their preferences.
Recent case studies of receiving communities have established that translocal immigrants are transforming their neighbourhoods, producing spaces of identity. While these studies have focused on the reshaping of local power dynamics, less attention has been given to the spaces, themselves, and the qualities that influence identity. This study utilises place identity literature, from environmental psychology, to explore the remaking of MacArthur Park, a public space at the centre of a Mexican and Central American immigrant community in Los Angeles, California. We find that new ‘place identities’ are influenced by the specific physical, social, and cultural elements of the park, as study participants attempt to maintain identities influenced by important places in their sending communities. The result is a park that has emotional significance for participants, significance that leads to agency – everyday and political practices – to protect the park, sometimes in the face of immense challenges.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN AND REGIONAL RESEARCH (2016)
Recent studies of public space in US central cities tend to focus either on (1) market-driven placemaking (privatized parks, hipster shops) in gentrifying enclaves
or (2) street cultures (community gardens, hip-hop) in low-income neighborhoods. Neither focus adequately frames the ability of African Americans to shape public space as the white middle class returns to central cities. In this case study of downtown Detroit, I theorize a dialectic: the history of clashes between racial capitalism and social movements in public space reappears in the contradictory design of market-driven placemaking, which suppresses and displays cultures of resistance. White business and real-estate interests showcase downtown spaces to counter news of disinvestment and suffering in low-income neighborhoods. The legal and political legacies of civil rights and black power struggles–– combined with consumer demand (black culture sells)––force them to involve black entrepreneurs, professionals and artists in placemaking. This placemaking subordinates the black urban poor, even as it incorporates their street cultures. The contradictions of placemaking shape possibilities for resistance, as shown in mundane subversions and street protests that use the downtown spotlight to call for social justice citywide. This analysis contributes to research on public space at a time when new movements are challenging public order in the financial core of US cities.
This article explores the links between social media and public space within the #Occupy Everywhere movements. Whereas listservs and websites helped give rise to a widespread logic of networking within the movements for global justice of the 1990s–2000s, I argue that social media have contributed to an emerging logic of aggregation in the more recent #Occupy movements—one that involves the assembling of masses of individuals from diverse backgrounds within physical spaces.
However, the recent shift toward more decentralized forms of organizing and networking may help to ensure the sustainability of the #Occupy movements in a post eviction phase.
Throughout the centuries Beirut has had an endless capacity for reinvention and transformation, a consequence of migration, conquest, trade, and internal conflict. The last three decades have witnessed the city center's violent self-destruction, its commercial resurrection, and most recently its national contestation, as oppositional political forces have sought to mobilize mass demonstrations and occupy strategic space. While research has been directed to the transformative processes and the principal actors involved, little attention has been given to how the next generation of Lebanese are negotiating Beirut's rehabilitation. This article seeks to address this lacuna, by exploring how postwar youth remember, imagine, and spatially encounter their city. How does Beirut's rebuilt urban landscape, with its remnants of war, sites of displacement, and transformed environs, affect and inform identity, social interaction, and perceptions of the past? Drawing on Henri Lefebvre's analysis of the social construction of space (perceived, conceived, and lived) and probing the inherent tensions within postwar youths’ encounters with history, memory, and heritage, the article presents a dynamic and complex urban imaginary of Beirut. An examination of key urban sites (Solidère's Down Town) and significant temporal moments (Independence Intifada) reveals three recurring tensions evident in Lebanese youth's engagement with their city: dislocation and liberation, spectacle and participant, pluralism and fracture. This article seeks to encourage wider discussion on the nature of postwar recovery and the construction of rehabilitated public space, amidst the backdrop of global consumerism and heritage campaigns.
The World Gay Pride week convened in Rome in July 2000 at the same time the Catholic Church planned on celebrating its Holy Year Jubilee. Thousands of gays came together, and by the end of the week more than 200,000 marched through the streets of Rome's historical centre. This unique event provides an opportunity to examine the causal relationship of the gay movement acquiring a political identity of its own while the city of Rome was trying to assert a `proper' identity for its public spaces. Acting in solidarity for the first time since its formation, the gay movement drew attention to the difficulties in securing unrestricted access to Rome's public spaces. Conservative sectors of society challenged the right to demonstrate, as guaranteed in Italy's Constitution, which resulted in the delay of obtaining the necessary permit. On the one hand, this revealed the existence of sectors of society not yet willing to acknowledge gay rights or even discuss gay issues in public; on the other, it helped make clear that the process for building Rome's identity is governed by a specific political design. In particular, policies for the privatisation of urban space in conjunction with discriminatory planning processes in the city's historical centre, point to tourism as a powerful tool to control urban space. Resisting this spatial marginalization the gay movement has significantly widened the scope of its social and political action in order to contest prevailing practices and trends which are shaping the city.
This paper investigates a moment of shift in urban neoliberal governance strategies under the purview of a new municipal Chief of Government of Buenos Aires at the end of the 2000s: the introduction of a regime of public space that has had implications for the waste management sector (and particularly informal recyclers or cartoneros). I document government attempts to re-represent the city as a modern, hygienic centre that is receptive to investment and tourism, drawing on discursive framings of public space that seek to redefine legitimate users and uses of the city. Such framings are exclusionary of cartoneros and other marginalized urbanites. As with most forms of actually existing neoliberalism, this regime is contradictory and unstable, both containing and provoking challenges to its coherence. This case study of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’ in Buenos Aires encourages analytical focus on moments of shift and renewal in urban processes of neoliberalization. In this case the shift marked by the introduction of the regime of public space reveals the priorities and agendas of urban elites as championed by municipal governments, makes visible the paradoxes and contradictions inherent to neoliberal urbanisms, and also exposes openings for resistance, opposition, and renegotiation of urban neoliberal agendas (including protest, discursive reframings of the city and its uses, and the forging of indeterminate alliances).
Crowdmapping and geolocated protests form complex multilayered systems of communicated spaces and places that can only be partially grasped by the available literature. This article responds to these limitations by presenting a model for the analysis of the composition of space and place in networked geolocated activities. The model identifies the several forms of expression, opens four modes of analysis (representations, textures, structures, and connections), and allows the consideration of the communication devices involved, while highlighting the forms of power behind the social and cultural practices of protests and crowdmapping. The model is applied to the case of Voces25s, a protest action against the Spanish government’s austerity measures in September 2012, which relied heavily on interactive, networked maps. Furthermore, the raised sensitivity for space and place as forms of social (in)justice opens a fertile empirical research agenda in the area of the governance of communicative spaces.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers (1995)
The nature of public space in contemporary society is changing. This paper uses the turmoil over People's Park in Berkeley, California, as a means for exploring changing ideas about and practices in public space. I argue that as public space is increasingly privatized or otherwise brought under greater control, possibilities for democratic action are minimized. To make this claim, I provide a brief outline of the roots of the August 1991 riots at People's Park. I then examine the role that public space plays in modern democracies, and how ideas about public space have developed dialectically with definitions of who counts as "the public." In American democracy, "the public" is constituted by private individuals. In this paper, I suggest that the presence of homeless people in public spaces raises important contradictions at the heart of this definition of "the public." Many commentators suggest that these contradictions have led to "the end of public space" in contemporary cities, or at the very least, the removal of its political functions to the "space" of electronic communication. I examine what this move means for democratic action in the city and show that material public spaces remain a necessity for (particularly) oppositional political movements. This returns us to People's Park, as these were precisely the issues that structured the riots in 1991. I conclude the paper with a sketch of where People's Park and the issues raised by the riots now stand.
Polar: Political and legal anthropology review (2016)
This article explores how indigenous migrants experience the sociopolitical and existential condition of “illegality” in the United States. Drawing on the experiences of Maya migrants from Yucat´an, Mexico, in the San Francisco Bay Area, I argue that the specter of state surveillance and the threat of law enforcement produce a particular politics of (im)mobility for indigenous migrants. This local politics of mobility takes form through spatial tactics of invisibility and visibility. Tracing migrants’ tactical maneuvers through public space, I show how their relations to space, place, and movement alter cultural sensibilities of tranquilidad (tranquility), and further instantiate “illegality” as a site of exclusion. This analysis of the experiential effects of anticipated surveillance provides a
deeper understanding of the power of the state to enforce migrant “illegality” even in cities that promise official sanctuary.
Sacco, P. L., Ghirardi, S., Tartari, M., & Trimarchi, M.
The purpose of this paper is to take part in the debate about power relationships in contemporary cities between the agents of urban renewal and the local communities, as mediated by cultural and artistic interventions and projects. Our study proposes a new conceptual frame, focused on the comparison between two notions of heterotopia as theoretical alternatives for the interpretation of cities as social and participatory spaces. The notions we consider may be traced to two key thinkers such as Michel Foucault and Henri Lefebvre, and lay the foundation for alternative analytical paradigms of the contemporary urban condition, in relation to artistic and cultural practices in the public space. We draw upon these two alternative readings of heterotopia to explore the implications of the interaction of artistic practices with the urban space as a contested terrain from the viewpoint of power relationships. In our analysis, we find that Foucault's notion of heterotopia is potentially conducive to top-down planning processes and to gentrification. Lefebvre's notion is instead possibly more suited to participatory practices as strategies of reactivation of the right to the city.
Urban public marketplaces in Global South cities host a vibrant mix of retail and wholesale trade. Yet local-to-national governments increasingly promote sanitized and privatized urban spaces by privileging modern retail outlets (malls and supermarkets) and discouraging “traditional” livelihoods (street vending and market stalls). These political decisions dramatically disrupt the public market trade that has provisioned urbanites for decades. To address this issue, this article analyzes how retailers working in the renowned Baguio City Public Market, northern Philippines, sustain their livelihoods given that Baguio City’s first phase of market redevelopment failed to meet their needs (e.g., insufficient store size and banning enterprises). Problematizing legal–illegal work and urban public space use, I argue that public marketers engage everyday and insurgent public space activism to protest their disenfranchisement. Although marketers generally have achieved selected demands, some have benefited more than others. Thus, I suggest that we consider not only marketers’ resistance but also the uneven political landscape within which they work—the power differentials among and between marketers and the state. The extent to which variously positioned marketers can realize livelihood rights highlights the unpredictability of civic engagement and “extralegality” when competing
ideologies clash over access to urban public space, legal–illegal practice, and appropriate urban provisioning.
The article discusses alternative wedding ceremonies staged in urban spaces as a statement of protest among immigrant couples that cannot marry in rabbinical courts, because they are not recognized as Jews. These public weddings are organized and sponsored by the Fishka association of young Israeli adults of Russian origin. Our field-work at Fishka included participant observation of its various events during 2013–2014, as well as in-depth interviews with the key informants, promotional materials, and video recordings of their public wedding ceremonies held in the streets of Tel-Aviv in 2009–2011. Embedded in the social history of the city and framed in the concepts of urban diversity and the politics of belonging, our ethnographic data juxtapose “Russian” street weddings with other public festivals sponsored by Fishka and other protest actions by minority groups. Alternative, civil weddings emerge as a form of active and critical citizenship among young Russian immigrants, seeking solidarity of other Israelis in the joint effort to reform the status quo and enable civil alternatives to Orthodox marriage. The active political stance and cultural activism of Fishka members challenge native Israelis’ monopoly on communal public space; young immigrants are thus carving a place for themselves in the iconic sites of the city’s public cultural sphere.
People reside in homes; however, they live in neighbourhoods comprised of parks, sidewalks, restaurants, shops and other everyday places. Whether current or potential neighbourhood residents feel at home in these places remains an under theorised aspect of neighbourhood change. Rather than housing policy or real estate development, this essay explores public space as a mechanism of neighbourhood change. Drawing from ethnographic research in the Latino barrios of North Denver, It deconstructs the history of one small yet vital public space—la Raza Park. During the 1970s, this park, its pool and the many events it grounded, built community cohesion and fostered cultural identity. In 1981, city authorities went so far as to deploy a SWAT team to la Raza Park to enforce a permit violation. The following summer, they demolished its pool. North Denver is now gentrifying rapidly. This essay stitches these disparate-seeming events into a story of neighbourhood change.
The Israeli protest movement 'Women in Black' is studied by focusing on the movement's mode of protest, which is used as a prism through which to analyse the manner in which the structure, contents and goals of protest challenge the socio-political and gender orders. The article analyses the protest vigil of 'Women in Black' in Jerusalem, and characterizes it, following Handelman (1990), as a minimalist public event. After examining and analysing the sources of minimalism it was concluded that minimalism was the result of two social processes attendant at the formation of 'Women in Black' as a social movement: personal interpretation of the political field, and avoidance of ideological deliberation amongst the participants. The minimalism of the public event preserved the movement for six years and created a collective identity that emphasized the symbolic difference between those within the demonstration and those outside it. This difference was symbolized by a juxtaposition of opposites. The essence of opposites is analysed by means of 'thick description', i.e., by deciphering them in the context of Israeli society. The study concluded that the mode of protest of 'Women in Black' has created a symbolic space in which a new type of political woman is enacted. This identity challenges established socio-cultural categories Israel.
Art in public space in South Africa is
increasingly a more visible locus of sociopolitical resistance and recalibration
of the public sphere. This article focuses upon an emblematic example: the sculpture of a former colonialist, removed from its public university site in Cape Town following sustained protests. Since April 2015, the
empty plinth of Cecil John Rhodes has become a site of re-imagination – from graffiti interventions to performance and installation art. While the plinth continually morphs in symbolism and significance, its ousted artwork
waits at an undisclosed location for its fate to be decided. This interregnum represents a liminal condition that theorists call ‘third space’, extended in this research towards a fourth dimension of performativity. The
physical disappearance of the artwork has triggered a second life, its apogee a national protest movement with global resonance. Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall are student-led calls for university decolonisation and free education arguably best understood as provocation around systemic issues in society. As this deeper work ensues amid fractious contestations, the artwork's re-animation of the public sphere is clear. Its leftover plinth is political, making visible other kinds of structural voids. It is also poetic: a zombie monument demonstrating
through its reinventions public space as common space – contested, negotiated and performed in the daily creation of city futures.