Places of protest: The public forum in principle and practice

John D. McCarthy, Clark McPhail

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Protest events occur in historical time and geographical place. In the U.S., some places are now constitutionally privileged with respect to citizen access and free assembly and speech. These venues are known as the traditional commons or the public forum. It is our contention that in recent years (1) these spaces have been shrinking in number, (2) citizens have experienced increasing difficulty in gaining unrestricted access to them, and (3) such venues are no longer where most people typically congregate in large numbers. Nevertheless, as we will show, when citizens gather to express dissenting views toward the government at the turn of the twentieth century they overwhelmingly choose spaces in the public forum to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-247
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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