Wednesday: What Makes Protests Effective? | KBIA

Wednesday: What Makes Protests Effective?

Jun 9, 2020

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Wednesday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

As a professor of political science at Washington University, Clarissa Rile Hayward had a front-row seat for the protests and disruption that followed the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. She paid attention as activists blocked highways, demonstrated at a symphony performance and even interrupted brunch at fancy restaurants to agitate for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

And she found herself thinking about what tactics work, and why. She believed that the conventional wisdom about such protests — that they only work if they present a “stark confrontation … between good and evil” in the words of noted sociologist Doug McAdam — was incomplete. She set out to develop a new model, one that accounts for protests that disrupt “elites’ agenda-setting,” and thereby transform the political calculus.   

Hayward recently published a paper detailing this new way of looking at disruption in the Journal of Politics. And on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, she’ll just us to discuss her findings — and how they apply to the current protests sweeping the globe.

Have protesters’ recent tactics helped to sway your beliefs? Why or why not? Tweet us (@STLonAir), send an email to talk@stlpublicradio.org or share your thoughts via our St. Louis on the Air Facebook group, and help inform our coverage.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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