Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Specters of '68: Protest, Policing, and Urban Space
by Sagan, Hans Nicholas, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2015, 265; 3733389
Abstract (Summary)

Political protest is an increasingly frequent occurrence in urban public space. During times of protest, the use of urban space transforms according to special regulatory circumstances and dictates. The reorganization of economic relationships under neoliberalism carries with it changes in the regulation of urban space. Environmental design is part of the toolkit of protest control.

Existing literature on the interrelation of protest, policing, and urban space can be broken down into four general categories: radical politics, criminological, technocratic, and technicalprofessional. Each of these bodies of literature problematizes core ideas of crowds, space, and protest differently. This leads to entirely different philosophical and methodological approaches to protests from different parties and agencies.

This paper approaches protest, policing, and urban space using a critical-theoretical methodology coupled with person-environment relations methods. This paper examines political protest at American Presidential National Conventions. Using genealogical-historical analysis and discourse analysis, this paper examines two historical protest event-sites to develop baselines for comparison: Chicago 1968 and Dallas 1984. Two contemporary protest event-sites are examined using direct observation and discourse analysis: Denver 2008 and St. Paul 2008.

Results show that modes of protest policing are products of dominant socioeconomic models of society, influenced by local policing culture and historical context. Each of the protest event-sites studied represents a crisis in policing and the beginning of a transformation in modes of protest policing. Central to protest policing is the concept of territorial control; means to achieve this control vary by mode of protest policing, which varies according to dominant socioeconomic model. Protesters used a variety of spatial strategies at varying degrees of organization. Both protesters and police developed innovations in spatial practice in order to make their activities more effective.

This has significant consequences for professionalized urban design. Both protester and policing spatial innovation involves the tactical reorganization and occupation of urban space. As urban space plays a constituent role in protest and policing, environmental designers must be aware of the political consequences of their designs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cranz, Galen
Commitee: Crysler, C. Greig, Walker, Richard
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: Architecture
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociology, Architecture, Urban planning
Keywords: Crowd control, Neoliberalism, Policing, Protest, Urban design, Urban space
Publication Number: 3733389
ISBN: 978-1-339-21664-5
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