Shutting Down the Streets

Political Violence and Social Control in the Global Era

224 pages

5 illustrations

September, 2011

ISBN: 9780814741009



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Amory Starr is the author of several books, including the first comprehensive text on alterglobalization, Naming the Enemy: Anti-Corporate Movements Confront Globalization.

All books by Amory Starr

Luis A. Fernandez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University and author of Policing Dissent: Social Control and the Anti-Globalization Movement.

All books by Luis A. Fernandez

Christian Scholl is Lecturer of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and author of the forthcoming book, Two Sides of a Barricade. (Dis)order and Summit Protest in Europe.

All books by Christian Scholl

Recently, a wall was built in eastern Germany. Made of steel and cement blocks, topped with razor barbed wire, and reinforced with video monitors and movement sensors, this wall was not put up to protect a prison or a military base, but rather to guard a three-day meeting of the finance ministers of the Group of Eight (G8). The wall manifested a level of security that is increasingly commonplace at meetings regarding the global economy. The authors of Shutting Down the Streets have directly observed and participated in more than 20 mass actions against global in North America and Europe, beginning with the watershed 1999 WTO meetings in Seattle and including the 2007 G8 protests in Heiligendamm. Shutting Down the Streets is the first book to conceptualize the social control of dissent in the era of alterglobalization. Based on direct observation of more than 20 global summits, the book demonstrates that social control is not only global, but also preemptive, and that it relegates dissent to the realm of criminality. The charge is insurrection, but the accused have no weapons. The authors document in detail how social control forecloses the spaces through which social movements nurture the development of dissent and effect disruptive challenges.


  • "The work effectively combines scholarly analysis with the immediate sense of direct action taken from firsthand accounts."

    —M.F. Farrell, CHOICE

  • "The authors of this excellent—and beautifully written—monograph...write not from the outside...but as activist scholars."

    —Deborah Eade, Interface

  • "This is a work of the movement rather than a dispassionate attempt at objective analysis and evaluation...Shutting Down the Streets is an important resource in understanding the repression being experienced by the Occupy movement."

    Working USA

  • "This book provides a timely and much-needed critical reflection on how major protest events are controlled and the consequences of such practices... dense yet accessible and important."

    Cultural Sociology

  • "Solidly empirical, richly descriptive and clearly written analysis." 

    American Journal of Sociology

  • "The authors provide an insightful explanation of current trends towards the policing of protests, including a vast array of empirical support. While the book uses a great deal of scholarly literature, it does not solely target an academic audience, but rather anyone interested in the role of social movements in today's society."

    —Anisha Mehta, International Law and Politics

  • "Shutting Down the Streets offers a fresh perspective on the dynamic of protest policing and the control of dissent generally...[the book] broadens the scope of study beyond protest policing to include control mechanisms that are deployed against social movements over many years."

    —, International Social Science Review