Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Roger Dunham

Second Committee Member

Marvin Dawkins

Third Committee Member

Miriam Boeri


This research examines what has been referred to as the “Miami model” of protest policing with a focus on the strategies, social constructions, and harms associated with this type of response to dissent. The first aim of this study is to clarify the “Miami model.” which includes both the strategies employed and the meaning attached to these constructions. The second aim is to produce an exploratory inventory of social harms associated with the model and implications for social change. Content analysis, participant observation, and in-depth interviews with key police participants related to the Miami model case were analyzed using modified grounded theory methods. The data revealed the presence of a set of strategies that constitute a broadly applicable design of response to large protest events that could be referred to as a model. Furthermore, strong notions of national history and ideology are embodied in officer narratives associated with the model. The Miami model is, in a sense, a set of strategies and tactics constructed through reified stories which may be used in any part of the world to control dissent at large transnational events. Physical, mental, financial and civil liberty related social harms were found to be associated with this model. Officers reported a willingness to assist activists in connecting with the media and their targets for the purpose of deescalating the crowds. Although working with officers may not be the desired path for change, this process holds an important residual effect of interrupting the age old story line that officers and activists, as two sides, must stand opposed. These findings add to our understanding of the Miami model, clarify its elements, social constructions and harms, as well as provide future directions for social change.


Social Change; Social Movements; Protest; Policing; Miami Model; Narratives