The Global Social Protest Research Working Group of the Arrighi Center includes faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, 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. 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.

Current Initiative

The group is in the process of creating a new database on global social unrest from 1851 to today from events reported in the international press, including The New York Times and The Guardian, with the goal of mapping the spatial-temporal distribution of events and forms of protest and grievances. The working group is also using the database to systematically compare the current period with past analogous periods of widespread global unrest.

Members of the Global Social Protest Research Working group can contribute to the data collection procedure.

Grants, Publications, and Conferences

  • The research project is awarded a major research grant from the National Science Foundation.
  • The project is awarded a seed grant from the Institute of Data Intensive Engineering and Science to semi-automate the data collection process. The grant title is: “New Tools for Old Problems: Building a Global and Historical Data Set of Social Unrest.”
  • Professor Beverly J. Silver’s article, “The Remaking of the Global Working Class,” is published in the ROAR Magazine.
  • Jacobin interview with Professor Beverly J. Silver, “Workers of the World”  (Summer 2016, Issue 22).
  • Research Working Group members Beverly Silver, Sahan Savas Karatasli, and Sefika Kumral presented research findings at the panel, “The Current Global Upsurge of Labor and Social Unrest in World-Historical Perspective,” 40th Annual Social Science History Association (SSHA) Meeting, Baltimore, USA, November 12-15.
  • Research Working Group members Beverly Silver and Sahan Savas Karatasli’s article, “Historical Dynamics of Capitalism and Labor Movements,” is published in the Oxford Handbook of Social Movements, edited by Donatella della Porta and Mario Diani (Oxford University Press 2015).
  • Research Working Group members Sahan Savas Karatasli, Sefika Kumral, Ben Scully, and Smriti Upadhyay published, “Class, Crisis and the 2011 Protest Wave: Cyclical and Secular Trends in Global Labor Unrest,” as a book chapter of “Overcoming Global Inequalities” (Paradigm Publishers), edited by Immanuel Wallerstein, Christopher Chase-Dunn and Christian Suters (2015).
  • Research Working Group member Professor Beverly Silver published, “Theorising The Working Class in Twenty-First-Century Global Capitalism,” as a book chapter of Workers and Labour in a Globalised Capitalism (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Maurizio Atzeni (2014).
  • An article titled, “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 titled, “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.
  • Research Working Group member Dr. Sahan Savas Karatasli developed a web page for collecting social unrest data. The project, Generating Online Databases with Maps and Timelines,  was funded by the JHU Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation in 2012.