Can protesting effect change?
This weekend, demonstrators across the country continued to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Some leaders, like Pasadena assemblyman Chris Holden, called for a boycott against Florida tourism to send a message. The combination of protests and calls for boycott keeps the trial in the media, but is it doing anything to change policies? During the Occupy Movement, sit-ins and demonstrations continued for months across the country. But what impact did it actually have for measurable change? Facebook, twitter, and online petitions like Change.org can spread a movement quicker than just word of mouth. When local lifeguards lost their job because of a parody of the "Gangnam Style." video, it was the online movement on Facebook that got their job back. It could be argued that demonstrations from the 1960s truly brought historic change, but does collective activism today still produce an effect?
Do protests still work? What impact do they have on actual laws and policies? Were protests stronger in the past, than they are today? What role does social media play in protesting? Is an online petition just as effective as a written one?
Rory McVeigh, director of the center for the study of social movements at the university of Notre Dame and Professor of Sociology
Karen North, Director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism