The new era of popular protests – why is it happening and what does it mean?

This meeting, with George Lawson from the LSE and Mark Johnson from The Economist will explore the factors behind the new wave of protests, examining the role of information technology, economic context and social and demographic change


Mark Johnson, Internet and Society Correspondent, The Economist

George Lawson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, London School of Economics


Chaired by

Anthony Dworkin, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR

In the last couple of years, large-scale popular protests have broken out in an extraordinary range of countries around the world – from the uprisings in the Arab world through the Occupy movement in the United States, demonstrations in Russia, anti-austerity activism in Europe and recent protests in Turkey and Brazil. Are these movements part of a common trend, and what is likely to be their impact? Is the world entering an era of popular empowerment, and if so, what are the implications for politics and world affairs?

This meeting will explore the factors behind the new wave of protests, examining the role of information technology, economic context, and social and demographic change. It will ask whether there is anything distinctive about these contemporary movements, and whether protests in authoritarian and democratic states arise from a common impulse.

Mark Johnson is The Economist's internet and society correspondent. He writes about technology, politics and international relations. He is also The Economist's community editor, managing and developing interactive features on The Economist online and across social media sites. Before joining The Economist in 2010 he worked in publishing, developing digital strategy at HarperCollins.

George Lawson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics, and sits on the Management Committee of LSE IDEAS. He works on revolutions and is currently engaged on a project exploring the impact of the 19th century global transformation on contemporary international order. His book ‘Anatomies of Revolution’ will be published in 2014.

Anthony Dworkin is a Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR working on human rights, democracy and international justice. He is the author of several papers for ECFR including on the EU's response to the Arab revolutions, most recently “The Struggle for Pluralism after the Arab Revolutions” (2013). He is currently finishing a policy brief on drones and targeted killing. He was previously the executive director of the Crimes of War project and is a contributing editor of Prospect magazine.