Protest Tracking

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About Protest Tracking

  • This project has been fulfilled.
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Description

This project is no longer being offered

This is a collaborative project together with the social science faculty. Experts in studying street demonstrations and protests (Anouk van Leeuwen, Jacquelien van Stekelenburg and Bert Klandermans) are studying the atmosphere of street demonstrations in particular the relation between protestors and police.

Their research aims are as follows:

Street demonstrations are usually friendly. Sometimes they turn violent, such as the student demonstration in London (2010) or the summit protests in Seattle (1999) and Copenhagen (2009). Social scientists from various disciplines study why street demonstrations take a certain course. Crowd psychologists focus on crowd behaviour to explain the development of a certain atmosphere. These scholars argue that changes in the atmosphere are caused by crowd dynamics. Protest policing scholars study how the police handling of protest events influences the atmosphere. These scholars ascribe changes in the atmosphere to the differences between the socio-political contextual settings of demonstrations, which influence the emergence of specific protest policing styles. We hypothesize that the atmosphere of a street demonstration is shaped by the intra- and intergroup interactions between demonstrators and the police and that these interactions are shaped by the contextual setting in which they take place. We foresee that changes in the atmosphere will become visible through a changing composition of the crowd, which influences the atmosphere in its turn.

In this project, the aim will be to assist these researchers in studying crowd composition through the use of mobile phone, geo-location and mapping technology. The project goal is to look for ways of tracking many people over time and integrating that information with contextual "on the ground" information such as photos, eyewitness reports and surveys. Additionally, this information will need to be presented to the social scientists for analysis. The project will involve close collaboration with social scientists.