Parades, Picketing, and Demonstrations

Oxford Handbook on Freedom of Speech (Adrienne Stone & Frederick Schauer, eds) (2019 Forthcoming)

19 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018

Date Written: August 29, 2018


This is a draft chapter written for the Oxford Handbook on Freedom of Speech. It focuses on collective modes of expression, including parades, pickets, and demonstrations. The chapter situates these activities within First Amendment jurisprudence and examines their importance to American democracy, both historically and in the modern era. It discusses the various legal, political, and social impediments to collective expression in the U.S. These include First Amendment precedents and doctrines, a gradual erosion of the public and private space needed to facilitate collective forms of expression, and general methods of policing public contention. The chapter contends that despite these limitations, traditional modes of collective expression remain critically important to democratic discourse, political mobilization, and the communication of dissent. It acknowledges the ubiquity of digital communication and its importance to these same interests. However, the chapter contends that while the internet and social media may represent the new town square, they have not displaced more traditional forums. Rather, technology has facilitated new forms of collective expression and enhanced collective displays in more traditional forums. In order to preserve the robust tradition of collective expression, the chapter suggests that we focus on incorporating collective activity such as assembly, petition, and picketing into the First Amendment, rehabilitating the expressive topography, and improving policing methods.

Suggested Citation

Zick, Timothy, Parades, Picketing, and Demonstrations (August 29, 2018). Oxford Handbook on Freedom of Speech (Adrienne Stone & Frederick Schauer, eds) (2019 Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Timothy Zick (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
757-221-2076 (Phone)

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