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Dr Benjamin Abrams
538
UCL SSEES
16 Taviton Street
London
WC1H 0BW
Appointment
  • Teaching Fellow in Political Sociology
  • SSEES
  • UCL SLASH
Biography
Benjamin received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2017. His doctoral research (Mobilization Beyond the Movement: Contention, Affinity and Convergence in New York, Cairo and Paris) was a tripartite study of unexplained mass mobilization in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Occupy Wall Street, and the 1789 French Revolution. This was a mixed-methods project, combining hundreds of hours of qualitative interviews with ethnographic observations, archival research and comparative historical analysis.

In-between his PhD and his arrival at SSEES, Benjamin served as the Director of Studies for Sociology at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge; and an affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Sociology.

Research Summary

Benjamin's research focuses on exploratory macro-causal comparisons and case studies, designed to generate new, durable theoretical insights. His approach fuse these macro-level approaches with in-depth investigative within-case methods, with a specialism in the analysis of ethnographic interviews and archival sources. His research covers the following topics:

Revolutions

Benjamin's research on revolutions has answered questions such as: how the shape of revolutionary coalitions prefigures revolutionary outcomes; how revolutionary waves initiate new protests elsewhere; and how revolutionary movements demobilise after contentious conflicts. He has also recently published two articles on the analysis of revolutionary processes and programmes, in collaboration with the political theorist John Dunn.

Mass Mobilisation

Benjamin's last major research project was on 'mobilisation beyond the movement': instances of spontaneous mass mobilization, carried out by people who are neither members nor affiliates of organized movements. The project developed an entirely new model of mass mobilization: the Affinity-Convergence Model of Mobilization. Benjamin is currently preparing a monograph, based on this project, under the working title: "Beyond the Movement.” 

Resistance Movements

Benjamin is currently seeking funding for his next major research project on 'Resistance to Populism'. The project compares the resistance movement in Hungary with resistance movements in the USA and Turkey. The project’s first exploratory output – Theorizing Resistance Movements was presented at the 2018 Millennium conference. 

Journal

Benjamin is editor in chief of Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest.


Teaching Summary

Political Sociology
Benjamin is the convener for SSESS0014: Understanding Society: Introduction to Political Sociology.

Research Methods
Benjamin has a keen interest in qualitative methods, with an emphasis on macro-causal comparison, historical sociology, relational ethnography, and discourse analysis. He is the convener for SEES0106: Introduction to Discourse Analysis, and teaches on SESS0034: Researching Politics and Society, and SEES0128: Qualitative Methods.

Dissertations
Benjamin also supervises dissertations on topics relating to his research interests.

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