Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-10-2017


This dissertation project focuses on dynamics of mobilization and repression in the Occupy movement. This movement emerged in late 2011 in the United States and sought to protest the growing economic inequality and the growing influence of corporations in politics. This project focuses on Occupy chapters which emerged in 74 out of the 100 largest cities in the United States. The first empirical chapter of this project focuses on dynamics which affect differences in protest size, measured in terms of protest turnouts relative to population. This chapter first demonstrates the importance of large student populations and greater numbers of universities in making large turnouts more likely, then focuses on accounting for the aspects of student populations and colleges which play a role in affecting protest size. The findings show that larger protests are more likely in cities with smaller, more liberal colleges, but also with low academic rankings, with institutional support from Chicano Studies and with proportions of economically disadvantaged students. The second part of the dissertation focuses on duration. In particular, this chapter seeks to explain the causes behind relative levels of duration of Occupy protest encampments. The findings show that protest size has an inverse relationship with protest duration: therefore, smaller movements are more likely to last. The findings also show that Occupy chapters can last longer by retaining key logistic resources as well as avoiding elected leader criticism in the media. The third and final empirical chapter of this dissertation focuses on the role of the media in making violent repression more likely. This chapter first analyzes the role of different types of threat (including protest turnouts and protester violence and property damage) in making overall, positive and negative media coverage more or less likely. The findings show that all types of threat have a positive effect on positive and negative coverage but only turnout has a significant (and positive) effect on media praise. The second part of the analysis shows that only media criticism makes repression more likely, whereas overall media coverage and media praise have no effect.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Sharon Nepstad

Second Committee Member

Wayne Santoro

Third Committee Member

Christopher Lyons

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Rocca


social movements, protests, occupy, repression, students, duration



Document Type


Included in

Sociology Commons