Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch: The Rise of the Masses

10 July 2023, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Image of book cover

From the French Revolution to Black Lives Matter, social movements and revolutions are enormously consequential. But how do they arise, who brings them into being, and why do they fail or succeed?

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground, G11
Ground floor, Wilkins building
UCL, Gower Street, London
United Kingdom

In his new book The Rise of the Masses, sociologist Benjamin Abrams sheds light on the drivers behind spontaneous mass protest and offers a novel theory that could help predict movements to come. Abrams’ book unveils new and unique evidence that shows how the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests took form, developed and came to take the US by storm, and how similar immense, spontaneous mass mobilizations have developed throughout world history. These include the Arab Spring of 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and even the French Revolution of 1789. 


About the Speaker

Benjamin Abrams

Benjamin Abrams is Lecturer in Sociology and Leverhulme Fellow at University College London. Alongside the study of mobilization, Benjamin also works on revolutions, resistance and contentious politics broadly considered. His approach to these topics focuses on exploratory macro-causal comparisons and case studies, designed to generate new, durable theoretical insights. Much of his work fuses these macro-level techniques with in-depth investigative within-case methods, with a specialism in the analysis of ethnographic interviews and archival sources.
In addition to authoring The Rise of the Masses, Benjamin's second book is called Symbolic Objects in Contentious Politics. Written in collaboration with Peter R. Gardner and bringing together an international and interdisciplinary community of scholars, the book was published open access by the University of Michigan Press in 2023.
Benjamin is also Chief Editor (with Giovanni A. Travaglino) of Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest.