Peacekeepers, Cred, and the Street: Police, Protesters, and Contradictions in Peacework

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Abstract

Drawing upon qualitative data gathered during protests at the 2008 Republican
National Convention, secondary sources of Black Lives Matter, and Trump and anti-
Trump rallies, I examine the collective interests, ideology, and role performances of
a seldom studied group involved in demonstrations—“peacekeepers.” My findings
suggest that as members of this group attempt to create a peaceful order between
police and protesters on the street, their activities are marked by a unique set of
contradictions. These contradictions emerge as a result of two primary roles—
those of crisis workers and “human involvement shields”—performed by peacekeepers,
as they attempt to build and leverage credibility with both protesters and
police. I theorize this process by outlining phases of interaction—milling, miming, and
crossing—between peacekeepers and these groups once peacekeepers are out on
the street.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalHumanity and Society
Early online dateDec 23 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 23 2017

Keywords

  • peacekeepers, police, conflict management, protesters, mass demonstrations

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