Global Social Protest Research Group

The Global Social Protest Research Working Group of the Arrighi Center includes faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students. The group is concerned with expanding our  theoretical and empirical understanding of the recent major wave of global social unrest. The recent wave of global social unrest includes movements as diverse as the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, the Indignados Movement in Spain, the Occupy Movement in the United States, urban riots in Paris and London, and labor movements in China. The goal of the research working group is to build a detailed picture of the timing, spatial patterning, and forms of social unrest that have characterized the contemporary wave and to develop an understanding of the degree to which the current wave is similar/different from previous major global waves of social unrest. In order to pursue this empirical and theoretical agenda, the research group has pioneered new methodological approaches for collecting long-term world-scale data on social unrest.

world map

The group is in the process of creating a new database on global social unrest from events reported in the international press including The New York Times, The Times London, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and the Financial Times with the goal of mapping  the spatial-temporal distribution of events,  forms of protest and grievances; as well as systematically comparing the current period with past analogous periods of widespread global unrest.

Members of the Global Social Protest RWG can click here to visit the web-page and contribute to the data collection procedure.


  • An article – entitled “Class explores new wave of global protests” – regarding the integration of Global Social Protest research working group activities and undergraduate education (Global Social Change and Development Research Practicum seminar) is published in the Johns Hopkins Newsletter.
  • Research Working Group members, Sahan Karatasli, Sefika Kumral, Ben Scully, Beverly Silver and Smriti Upadhyay presented a paper entitled “Bringing Labor Back in: Workers in the Current Wave of Global Social Protest” based on preliminary findings of the empirical research and theoretical discussions in the working group meetings. The paper was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Political Economy of World-Systems Section of the American Sociological Association at the University of California, Riverside.

For more information, contact RWG co-coordinator, Dr. Sahan Savas Karatasli []