American Government and Politics

“Covid19 and Protest Repertoires in the United States: An initial description of limited change”

Jeremy Pressman University of Connecticut
Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick University of San Diego & University of Nottingham


The Covid19 pandemic did not cause a dramatic change in the dominant protest repertoire in the United States. Street protests and all the associated behaviors such as marching, carrying signs, chanting, and speeches continued to be the major form of activity. Nonetheless, based on media reports and Crowd Counting Consortium data, we observed three important changes. First, protestors’ issues of concern shifted to public health and economic policies. Second, some but not all protestors made tactical adjustments by embracing social distancing or shifting to formats that did not require social distancing such as car caravans. Third, medical facilities much more commonly serving as a location for demonstrations. Preliminary analysis also leads us to believe that protestors did not use online tools in dramatically new ways but probably did make use of these tools far more frequently. In short, this was probably more of a quantitative growth than a qualitative shift.


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