From Protest Event to Protest Wave: Temporal Structure of Protest Wave from the World-Historical Perspective

Chungse Jung, SUNY Cortland

This study explores the temporal structure of the protest wave from the world-historical perspective. The connectedness of social movements across time and space leads us to draw on new theoretical and methodological approaches that attempt to identify the common processes and dynamics of diverse social movements operating in a larger scope and context. Braudel’s conception of plural temporality offers us the possibility of constructing a temporal structure of social movement and allows theoretical comprehension of spatially and temporally complex collective actions. Based on this conceptual framework, we can raise the key research questions: 1) How to make explicit the relationship between the plurality of social times and the temporal level of social movements? 2) What is the internal process allowing popular protests to broaden from a protest event to a protest wave? 3) How do popular protest events empirically cluster and map out protest cycles and further protest waves on the world-historical scale? By mapping out 20,500 protest events across 43 countries/regions in the global South from a historical newspaper database of The New York Times from 1870 to 2016, this study identifies four great protest waves of the 1930s, the long 1950s, the 1980s, and the early 2010s and 213 major protest cycles. In sum, examining the protest events, protest cycles, and protest waves in the global South over the long twentieth century from the Braudelian perspective offers a path to understanding the continuation of struggles and how periods of contention may be just the one wave in a larger sea of long-term resistance.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 158. Protest and Reform