Patrick F. Gillham and Gary T. Marx



Complexity and Irony in Policing and Protesting: The World Trade Organization in Seattle

Gillham and Marx present a case study of protest behavior and police action at the 1999 Seattle meetings of the World Trade Organization. They review various approaches to understanding the conflict and consider various interpretations or “stories” of what happened. Then they argue that a broad political-economic approach must be supplemented with a micro analysis to reveal and explain local variation in mass demonstrations and the responses of competing and conflicting local elites. The essay discusses a series of ironic structural and interactional outcomes that escalated conflict. Finally, they provide ten proposals for limiting violence and constitutional violations, an outcome that would serve the interests of demonstrators and progressive local political establishments.

police, protest, World Trade Organization, globalization

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000): 212-236