Occupy, blockade, debate: traditions of protest in movement

Posted on 13 April 2015

Brian Doherty, Professor of Political Sociology at Keele University, will examine traditions of protest in the latest lecture in Keele's programme of Inaugural Professorial Lectures 2014-15, on Tuesday, 28 April 2015, in the Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building, on the University campus.

In 2011 Time Magazine gave its ‘person of the year’ title to ‘the protester’ thus marking a year in which, as in 1989 and 1968, protest had emerged as if from nowhere. And yet on those and other occasions when elites are taken by surprise by protests, new movements have relied on the experience of longstanding activists. While scholars of protest and movements have long recognised that new movements have roots in previous ones, they have given less attention to how this happens, particularly to understanding continuity and change between movements over time.

In his lecture, Professor Doherty will argue that to understand this we need to develop a theory of tradition as an active process which enables activists to make decisions collectively and one that cuts across boundaries between nominally separate movements. He will illustrate this by looking at traditions of direct action in British social movements since the 1970s.

Brian Doherty is Professor of Political Sociology in the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment. His main research interests are in the study of social movements and particularly environmental movements. He is a Consulting Editor of the journal Social Movement Studies and co-convenes the Environmental Politics and Policy Standing Group of the European Consortium for Political Research.

Keele's programme of Inaugural Lectures are given by newly established professors within the University and aim to give an illuminating account of the speaker's own subject specialism. The lectures, which start at 6 pm in the Westminster Theatre, are chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Foskett.

This lecture is free and open to all.