Cultures of Protest

Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed an increase in the number of protests and especially their emergence in countries riddled by autocratic regimes or lacking in such tradition. Social networks, modern technology and the media have contributed to the spread of attitudes favorable to protest, but are also sometimes assumed to be standing in with the “enemy”, preserving the status quo. We are living in a time echoing the one around 1968: we can feel the wind of change, but we are not sure which direction it might be taking us. Everywhere across the world spontaneous protests, sometimes initiated by a handful of people, have given rise to colossal movements uniting hundreds of thousands or millions of citizens and bringing about the fall of governments or presidents, without also proposing a replacement for the old system with a new one. Often times, these movements have spawned the appearance of different parties, some of which have become powerful on the political scene of their respective countries. Other times they have faded away, leaving behind questions about the future and promising to make a stronger comeback when the time is ripe. What is certain however is that all these movements have managed to build, over time, a culture of their own, with protesters from around the world taking inspiration from models that others have established, or learning from their failure.