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What's the point of a protest?

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Episode notes

In this episode, Rory Cellan-Jones discusses with Dr Lauren Wilcox, Dr Felix Dwinger, and Dr Giacomo Lemoli why the world is protesting so much, how protesting has changed over time, and what impact protest movements are having on policymaking.

Delving into the surge of protests across democratic and autocratic regimes, they examine why people are taking to the streets. They draw on insights from historic protests to explore the factors that contribute to the success of protest movements and progressive social change.

This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones (former technology correspondent for the BBC), and features guest experts Lauren Wilcox (University of Cambridge), Felix Dwinger (IAST) and Giacomo Lemoli (IAST). 

Season 3 Episode 8 transcript

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With thanks to:

  • Audio production by Steve Hankey
  • Associate production by Stella Erker
  • Visuals by Tiffany Naylor and Kevin Sortino 

More information about our host and guests:

Rory Cellan-Jones was a technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism have seen him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has also written multiple books, including “Always On” (2021) and his latest “Ruskin Park: Sylvia, Me and the BBC” which was published in 2023. @ruskin147

Dr Felix Dwinger is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Toulouse. His research focuses on autocratic politics and democratic backsliding using game theory and causal inference from observational data. He holds a PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. While pursuing his PhD, he was a Visiting Assistant Researcher at Yale and a Guest Doctoral Researcher at the University of Konstanz, Germany. @DwingerFelix

Dr Giacomo Lemoli is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. He holds a PhD in Politics from New York University and a MSc in Economic and Social Sciences from Bocconi University. His research studies the construction and change of group identities, and their implications for political competition, mobilization, and development in contemporary societies. He is particularly interested in how political elites and mass media shape the salience of ethnic and linguistic boundaries, and in how collective memories affect behavior. He uses econometric tools for causal inference on contemporary and archival data, as well as original surveys. His research has been funded by UNU-WIDER and the Institute for Humane Studies. @giacomolem

Dr Lauren Wilcox is Associate Professor in Gender Studies, Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, and a fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. Lauren researches political violence, subjectivity, and embodiment from the perspective of feminist and queer theory. Lauren’s first major work, ‘Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations’, addresses a deep irony in war/security studies: that while war is actually inflicted on bodies, or bodies are explicitly protected, there is a lack of attention to the embodied dyn