The Architecture of Protest

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Person of the Year

In the past couple of decades dystopian urban critics and sci-fi writers have been painting a picture of a society in which public space was becoming privatized—especially in LA—while the computer was drawing people into isolated virtual worlds. Then came rolling protests, bringing thousands into streets and public squares from Tunisia and Moscow to downtown Los Angeles. What happened? Marty Kaplan is a former political speechwriter who witnessed the political upheaval of the 1960s. Now he directs the Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, studying the impact of entertainment on society. He explains that while social networking connected people, retaking physical space was essential.

Image: Time's Person of the Year for 2011 is "The Protester", with a cover by LA artist Shepard Fairey based on a photo of Occupy LA protestor Sarah Mason



  • Marty Kaplan - research professor, USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism; Norman Lear chair in entertainment, media and society