The Politics of Contention: Repression, Protest and the Problem of Democracy in the United States and United Kingdom

Research event Recording
23 July 2020 — 2:00PM TO 3:00PM

The wave of social unrest in the US, brought on by the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, is the most recent attempt to protest the systemic racism faced by African Americans.

Today’s protests come during the midst of the pandemic, in the context of high levels of unemployment and economic recession, and nearly four years into a presidency that has challenged long-standing democratic norms.

In the UK, protests come as the country attempts to negotiate its exit from the European Union and adopt a new status in international relations.

This panel attempts to understand the domestic and international significance of these protests, not least in two countries, the US and UK, that have a long, shared history and that today both confront high levels of domestic turbulence and division.

It also evaluates the current protests in light of previous protests especially in light of contemporary claims that protest sometimes drives politics in more conservative directions.


Professor Christian Davenport, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Michigan
Professor Erica Chenoweth, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
Trevor Phillips OBE, Partner, WebberPhillips; Head, Commission for Racial Equality (2003); Chairman, Commission for Equality and Human Rights (2006-12)
Chair: Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, Director, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House

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