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The Logistics of Popular Uprisings


Imagine you protest the slide of your country into an autocratic regime. The weather is freezing and you rally in these conditions for weeks. Not a pleasant idea, yet in 2004 thousands of Ukrainians demonstrated against electoral fraud and established a permanent protest camp in Kyiv. For two months, thousands of protesters were in this urban camp, requiring food, toilet facilities and accommodations to regain warmth. And not only in Ukraine, but all over the world, people protest under difficult conditions and have to overcome logistical and personal challenges to pursue their goals. While the literature on social movements and revolution has engaged extensively with popular uprisings and large-scale protests, the logistics that are required for these protests to succeed under autocracy are hardly ever addressed. Existing research has long neglected the fundamental questions that LOOPS engages with. Such as: what logistical activity can be observed during these protests, their quantity and professionalism? Who organizes the portable toilets, provides soup, and blankets? And what effect has the level of professionalism on the legitimacy of the protest and autocratic stability? We will first develop a concept of professionalism in backstage logistics and a theoretical argument about its effect on the legitimacy and course of protests. With this we will create a unique dataset of the logistics during uprisings based on the analysis of images, a new and exciting way to generate data. With a substantive human coding effort, LOOPS will identify the basic logistics, their type, quantity, and professionalism. In a second step, LOOPS will include case studies to gather more information about financial and organizational sources for protest logistics. Third, we will test the impact of these logistics on autocratic resilience. I propose an ambitious research agenda, address a salient research gap, offer an innovative approach to data collection and a multi-method design.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 605,00
Am Neuen Palais 10
14469 Potsdam

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Brandenburg Brandenburg Potsdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00