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Review
. 2019 Oct 23;5(10):eaaw5461.
doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5461. eCollection 2019 Oct.

The Science of Contemporary Street Protest: New Efforts in the United States

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Free PMC article
Review

The Science of Contemporary Street Protest: New Efforts in the United States

Dana R Fisher et al. Sci Adv. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, there has been substantial and ongoing protest against the Administration. Street demonstrations are some of the most visible forms of opposition to the Administration and its policies. This article reviews the two most central methods for studying street protest on a large scale: building comprehensive event databases and conducting field surveys of participants at demonstrations. After discussing the broader development of these methods, this article provides a detailed assessment of recent and ongoing projects studying the current wave of contention. Recommendations are offered to meet major challenges, including making data publicly available in near real time, increasing the validity and reliability of event data, expanding the scope of crowd surveys, and integrating ongoing projects in a meaningful way by building new research infrastructure.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Cartogram depicting protest activity by state.
States sized according to their population. Each state is colored based on the number of protest participants per capita; darker color indicates higher number of protesters per resident. Washington, DC, is an outlier: It has 1898 attendees per thousand residents. Based on data collected by Count Love from 20 January 2017 to 18 December 2018.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. Number of protest attendees by month from January 2017 to October 2018 based on data collected by the CCC.
Light and dark bars depict the low and high attendee estimates, respectively, highlighting discrepancies in reporting.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. Map of Women’s March events occurring in the continental United States in 2017 from the CCC data, with circles sized according to the high estimate of attendees.
Protests had an average of 8300 attendees, with the largest occurring in Washington, DC (up to 1 million attendees).
Fig. 4
Fig. 4. Map of Women’s March events occurring in the continental United States in 2018 from the CCC data, with circles sized according to the high estimate of attendees.
Protests had an average of 6900 attendees, with the largest occurring in Los Angeles, CA (up to 600,000 attendees).

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References

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