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Situational BreakdownsUnderstanding Protest Violence and other Surprising Outcomes$
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Anne Nassauer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190922061

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190922061.001.0001

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Expecting the Worst

Expecting the Worst

(p.71) 5 Expecting the Worst
Situational Breakdowns

Anne Nassauer

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 examines the second path to violence in protest marches. Like the other two paths, it leads to violent clashes between protesters and police due to interactions, interpretations, and emotional dynamics that emerge between the start of the protest and violence erupting. This second path to protest violence, called the offense path, is comprised of spatial incursions, escalation signs, and property damage. Based on detailed discussions of US and German protests, the chapter argues that a self-fulfilling prophecy cannot explain the outbreak of violence but that actions during the protest can foster violence if they are interpreted as signs of immanent escalation. Such escalation signs increase tension and fear regardless of prior expectations. A further section discusses how property damage favors escalation. A last section highlights how their combination with spatial incursions and escalation signs during protests leads protesters or police to perceive an offense by the other group.

Keywords:   spatial incursions, escalation signs, property damage, self-fulfilling prophecy, expectations, Germany, United States, Seattle WTO 1999 protest, offense path, problem-oriented policing

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