Anastasakis introduced the seminar by stressing the role of protest as a means to address issues that are neglected—or even created—by national elites and established institutions. “Bottom up” movements can be a vital source of innovation and a bulwark of democracy.
The speakers shared an understanding that protests can have important impact in several areas, namely:
- Politics, for example by shifts in voting patterns and party structures;
- Policies and economics, where resources may be reallocated and incentives adjusted;
- Culture and norms, when the standards of behaviour adjust;
- Biography, in the sense that the lives of protesters can take on new directions; and
- Networking and society, as when new nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) emerge from protest movements.