Global Social Protest

Economic and Geopolitical Crises and Waves of Social Unrest

This study – supported by a National Science Foundation grant (submitted with Beverly Silver) – seeks to shed light on the recent (post-2008) global upsurge of labor and social unrest by comparing it with analogous historical periods since the mid-nineteenth century. Because of its intensity and global spread, scholarly debates on the causes and significance of the recent protest wave have mushroomed, including debates around the class composition of the participants and the causal mechanisms linking unrest to economic crises and geopolitical transformations. This project aims to construct a new database on events of labor and social unrest worldwide from 1851 to the present using the digital newspaper archives of The New York Times and The Guardian (London). By casting the analysis of the current global wave of social protest in a much longer temporal frame and broader geographical scope than is normally done, we will be able to directly address (and resolve) debates about this wave’s historical significance and novelty.

Photo Credit: Sefika Kumral
Global Social Protest Research Working Group, Arrighi Center for Global Studies, 2014
Photo Credit: Sahan Savas Karatasli
Global Social Protest Research Working Group, Arrighi Center for Global Studies, 2014

Some of papers I have (co)authored on this theme are as follows:

oxfordhandbookSilver, B. J & Karatasli, S. S. (2015) “Historical Dynamics of Capitalism and Labor Movements“, in Della Porta, Donatella and Diani, Mario (ed). Oxford Handbook of Social Movements, Oxford: Oxford University Press [in press]

[Hungarian Translation]  Silver, B. J & Karatasli, S. S. (2016) “A kapitalizmus és a munkásmozgalmak történeti dinamikái – munka, kapitalizmus és mozgalomkutatás“, Eszmélet28. évf. 112. sz. (2016. tél).


Karatasli, S. S.; Kumral, S.; Scully, B.; Upadhyay, S. (2014). “Class, Crisis, and the 2011 Protest Wave: Cyclical and Secular Trends in Global Labor Unrest“, in Immanuel Wallerstein, Christopher Chase-Dunn and Christian Suter (eds). Overcoming Global InequalitiesNew York: Paradigm.