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Sociology: Research


G8 Protest Research Project

Thanks to the University of Edinburgh Development Trust and the University of Edinburgh Development Trust Research Fund Hugo Gorringe and Michael Rosie were able to undertake a small research project on a number of protest activities around the summit of 'G8' world leaders in Gleneagles in July 2005. The research form the early basis for a larger, and broader, research project on protest activism and the policing of public events.

This project closed in 2009-10: our ongoing research can be found here.

  auchterarder Canning Street







The research involved interviews with protest organisers, police officers, and 'ordinary' protestors; two opinion polls of Scottish public opinion (conducted by TNS Social); an illustrative survey of protest participants; and our own 'participant observation'. Whilst the project is ongoing we hope to use this website to make our provisional findings as accessible as possible.

In July 2005 we produced an interim report of our earliest impressions and findings. This is available to download here in 'pdf' form:

Interim report (with pictures) Interim report (text only)

In February 2006 we produced a 'work in progress' paper. This is available to download here in 'pdf' form: Work in Progress

Published/forthcoming work

Gorringe & Rosie (2010), 'The "Scottish" Approach? The discursive construction of a national police force', The Sociological Review, 58(1), pp65-83

Abstract: In 2005, the location of the G8 summit meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, brought the contested boundaries of the state and the nation to the fore. Confronted by the prospect of significant public disorder police forces in Scotland routinely flagged up a 'Scottish approach to policing'. Drawing on research with key police officers and others we explore the processes through which national identities come to be articulated, contested and acted out in the context of one particular institution: the police. We consider the claim that policing of the summit was 'Scottish' and assess the implications of this assertion. Whilst the police have been argued to be integral to the constitution and expression of nation-statehood we highlight the dangers in an uncritical acceptance of police philosophies and also point to the banal ways in which national identity is naturalised.

Rosie & Gorringe (2009),'"The Anarchists' World Cup": Respectable protest and media panics', Social Movement Studies 8 (1)

Abstract:In 2005 225,000 people marched through Edinburgh enjoining the G8 to ‘Make Poverty History’. The coalition’s own assessment of their campaign highlighted the importance of media by focussing on the extent of media coverage. Media outlets, however, have their own agendas. Detailed analysis of newspaper coverage preceding the G8 Summit suggests a disjuncture between campaign objectives and media frames. This paper explores how far newspaper accounts of G8-related protests were ‘framed’ in terms of social movement aims, and how far in terms of anticipated violence. Our findings lead us to caution against an uncritical equation of ‘coverage’ and ‘success’, offering a more nuanced account of the interplay between social movements and media.

Gorringe & Rosie (2008), 'Do You Know the Way to Auchterarder? ‘Negotiated management’ and Mismanagement at the 2005 G8 Summit’', British Journal of Sociology 59 (2)

Abstract: Recent analyses of protest policing in Western democracies argue that there has been a marked shift away from oppressive or coercive approaches to an emphasis on consensus based negotiation. King and Waddington (2005) amongst others, however, suggest that the policing of international summits may be an exception to this rule. This paper examines protest policing in relation to the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. We argue that ‘negotiated management’ cannot be imported wholesale as a policing strategy. Rather it is mediated by local history, forms of police knowledge and modes of engagement. Drawing on interviews and participant observation we show that ‘negotiated management’ works best when both sides are committed to negotiation and that police stereotyping or protestor intransigence can lead to the escalation of any given event. In closing we note the new challenges posed by forms of ‘global’ protest and consider the implications for future policing of protest.

Gorringe & Rosie (2008), 'The Polis of ‘Global’ Protest: Policing Protest at the G8 in Scotland', Current Sociology 56 (5)

Abstract: Protests at recent international summit meetings have prompted assertions about ‘global protest’ and ‘global civil society’. In this paper we provide a detailed and contextualised analysis of the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland focussing on the dynamic interplay between police and protestors. We argue that local variables were critical to the experience of this manifestation of ‘global protest’. Focusing on the policing of events in Edinburgh we highlight the pre-conceptions and assumptions (frames) underpinning police operations and contribute to more interactive understanding of police/protestor relations. Protest emerges in relation to the ‘polis’ (simultaneously denoting both the political community and the police), and neglecting this relationship leads to incomplete analyses. In concluding we consider the implications of our research for the policing of political protest.

Gorringe & Rosie (2006), 'Pants to Poverty'? Making Poverty History, Edinburgh 2005, Sociological Research Online, 11 (1)

Abstract: July 2005 saw 225,000 people march through Edinburgh in the city's largest ever demonstration. Their cause was the idealistic injunction to 'Make Poverty History' (MPH). This paper presents an analysis of the MPH march, focusing particularly on the interplay between protestors, the police and the media. Drawing on ongoing research, it interrogates the disjunction between projected and actual outcomes, paying particular scrutiny to media speculation about possible violence. It also asks how MPH differed from previous G8 protests and what occurred on the day itself. The paper considers three key aspects: the composition and objectives of the marchers (who was on the march, why they were there and what they did?), the constituency that the protestors were trying to reach, and the media coverage accorded to the campaign. The intent underlying this threefold focus is an attempt to understand the protestors and what motivated them, but also to raise the question of how 'successful' they were in communicating their message.

 bins Politians History








Conference and Seminar Papers

We presented two short seminar papers at the University of Edinburgh in late 2008. These were:

  • 'Just There for a Ruck?': Violence and Non-violence in Protest Policing at the 2005 G8 Protests, presented to the Sociology Seminar Series, October 2008 (powerpoint available here)
  • Judging Social Movement Success, presented to the Politics & IR Research-in-Progress seminar series, December 2008 (powerpoint file to follow)

 We presented a Poster at:

The 8th Annual Conference of the European Sociological Association, Conflict, Citizenship and Civil Society, Glasgow, 3rd - 6th September, 2007. Here is the paper to accompany it:

Hugo Gorringe & Michael Rosie, Do You Know the Way to Auchterarder? Protest and Policing at the 2005 G8 Summit. Full paper (pdf format)

  LBP Peace Flag

We presented two Papers at the The 12th International Conference on Alternative Futures and Popular Protest, Manchester Metropolitan University, April 2007:

Hugo Gorringe & Michael Rosie, Protest Polis? Policing 'global protest' during the 2005 G8. Full paper (pdf format)

Michael Rosie & Hugo Gorringe, The 'Anarchist World Cup': protest mobilisation and media panics. Full paper (pdf format)

More articles and conference papers are in preparation and we will try to update this page as and when we can. Please come back. 

We wholeheartedly thank the following people for their time, their kindness, and their help:

David Alexander; Evan Alston; Ellen Asquith; Ross Bond; Emma Davidson; Ian Dickinson (LBP); Lou Evans; Eleisha Fahy; Jennifer Fleetwood; Iona Gorringe; Gill Haddow; Fran Hepburn; Ruth Lewis; Aurora Menkee; Lorraine Murray (TNS Social); Robin Naumann; Roddy Ross (Tayside Police); Jo Thompson; John Vine (Tayside Police); Fraser White (Tayside Police) and all the many other people we met along the way.