Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


political protests, globalization, political structure


As globalization takes hold, political movements and protests across the world become more relevant to us as Americans. In their paper, “Political Theory in the Square: Protest, Representation, and Subjectification,” Marina Prentoulis and Lasse Thomassen analyze what such protests can teach us. The article, published in Contemporary Political Theory, is timely in our globalized situation where protests have become something common. The article uses the movement Toma la Plaza in Spain and the movement aganaktismenoi in Greece to show what the “occupy” movements are trying to accomplish and how, in the end, these activities will not completely change the hierarchal political structure that dominates our society today. The authors submit that, though these movements fight for an egalitarian political structure, they can only disrupt the political status quo, because vertical political structures are inevitable. Although the article does not give any normative pronouncement of whether horizontal or vertical government structures are better for democracy, the article does give great insight into the practical difficulties that protest movements face when trying to supplant vertical government structures.