Social movements play a vital and increasingly visible role in modern politics. Headline-grabbing demonstrations against authoritarian governments, police brutality, economic inequality, and other grievances suggest that, around the world, social movements are seen as powerful catalysts of change. In democracies as well as autocracies, rich countries as well as poor, citizens turn repeatedly to protest as a way of addressing a range of perceived social ills.
This engaging and accessible book by leading social movements scholar Devashree Gupta offers a thorough introduction to the study of social movements in these diverse settings, examining their structures and operations to identify the ways in which political and social contexts shape how movements behave and what impacts they have. Drawing on multiple theoretical approaches and contemporary case studies from far-right nationalist movements to Black Lives Matter, Gupta explores how movements think and act strategically, learning from past interactions with authorities and the experiences of other movements, to find innovative ways to challenge the status quo. Protest Politics Today also engages key questions of why and how people protest, how the political role of protest has changed over time, how new technologies affect protest, and how protest contributes to social and political change. With suggestions for further reading and questions for class discussion throughout, this book will be essential reading for students of social movements and contentious politics across the world.