Protest Surveying

Modern Western societies are permeated by political protest. Different scientific disciplines study protest but their approach is partial and one-sided, and often they do not seem to address the central questions: who protests, for what issues and why, and how do people come to protest? Especially the theoretical and methodological void between the different ‘levels’ of protest research is problematic. Protest only comes about when a societal and political context (macro) generates a ‘demand’ for protest (micro) that is linked with a protest ‘offer’ by mobilizing actors (meso). This micro-macro-bridge still is a weak point in most protest research. The basic intuition of this project is that questioning specific protest event participants drawing on so-called protest surveys can tear down the walls between the different scientific traditions and, by focussing on the link between demand and supply, can make a significant contribution to our knowledge of protest, its drivers and mechanisms. The research group conducting this research is one of the most active in this new research field. The aim of this project is to develop the protest survey method and its research design further. If surveying protesters is a useful and realistic option that can deepen our knowledge about protest, how can we develop, extend, and codify protest surveying? Yet, the project also wants to go beyond the refinement of the protest survey methodology, It also strives to make an important contribution to the theoretical knowledge on political participation, more specifically by shedding more light on the dynamics of mobilization, recruitment and sustained activism, while paying special attention to the role and importance of emotions and collective identities in these processes.