Crowd Control: Economic Disruption and the Regulation of Mass Protest
Graduate Student Conference in Political Science, International Relations and Public Policy, December 2011
13 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2011 Last revised: 29 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 23, 2011
Prepared for Seventh Graduate Student Conference in Political Science, International Relations and Public Policy at Hebrew University of Jerusalem on December 14-16, 2011. This is a preliminary precis for a new project about the regulation of protest in market democracies. It suggests that the process of global economic liberalization necessarily produces dislocation and heightens the risk of angry protest, which if poorly managed threatens political destabilization and a retreat from the project of liberalization itself. Over time, market democracies develop regulatory regimes -- constituted of rules, organizational capacities, and technologies -- for controlling mass protests. Regimes evolve in response to periodic "law and order" crises and also the shifting tactics of protesters themselves. Over time, regimes becoming increasingly stringent, so that the possibility of a "crowd politics" -- a kind of politics in which protests play a significant role in determining policy outcomes -- becomes increasingly remote.
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