Penn State doctoral candidate John Beieler has created a stunning time-lapse visualisation of every protest on the planet since 1979 using data from the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone. This map is surprising in many respects, not least because it shows that the number of protests taking place in the 1970’s ( popularly regarded as the golden age of political activism), are vastly outweighed by those taking place in the late 1990’s up until the present day. Foreign Policy have published a useful article here which offers a timeline of events to look out for when viewing the map and explains some of the limitations of the dataset, which is derived from reports of protests in the mass media. Despite these limitation, Beielers work is important in encouraging viewers to critically evaluate statements that have been made about the increasing level of apathy which is supposedly characteristic of the twenty-first century.
The first edition of “Lacuna”, due to be published in January 2014, features writing around the theme of “Protest”- if you have any thoughts or suggestions for topics please subscribe to our mailing list and get in touch through our Twitter account, writing_justice
The Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) tracks news reports and codes them for 58 fields, from where an incident took place to what sort of event it was (these maps look at protests, violence, and changes in military and police posture) to ethnic and religious affiliations, among other categories. The dataset has recorded nearly 250 million events since 1979, according to its website – See more at: http://www.ultraculture.org/watch-a-jaw-dropping-visualization-of-every-protest-since-1979/#sthash.qWOSCe1K.dpufsupr