Analyzing video records of collective action
McPhail, Clark~Schweingruber, David~Ceobanu, Alin~Waddington,P.A.J.
Abstract: We have extended our method developed for on-site systematic observation & recording of collective action (McPhail & Schweingruber, 1999; Schweingruber & McPhail, 1999) to the coding of videotape records from three sources: the Vanderbilt Television News Archives, the videotape archives of a large metropolitan police force, & investigator produced videotapes. The method samples the videotape record for several categories of actors (demonstrators, police, onlooker-passersby, media workers, & counterdemonstrators) & for incidents of collective action by two or more actors in each category. The method estimates the number of visible individuals in each actor category in each sample shot & then estimates the proportion of those visible actors judged to engage in one or more of forty-plus elementary forms of collective (facing, voicing, manipulating, locomoting) actions. After describing the criteria & procedures for our method, we report the results of coding three protest events representing, respectively, the aforementioned three sources of videotape records; the annual March for Life in Washington, DC (1973-1998), the 1991 Poll Tax Riot in London, & a 1995 Kurdish PKK protest event in Bern, Switzerland, recorded by the first author. We briefly summarize our analyses of those three events & discuss the advantages & limitations of the three types of video records & of the criteria & procedures of our method.