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Sociology Research


Dr Benjamin Abrams is Director of Studies in Sociology at St Catharine's College, and an Affiliated Lecturer in Sociology in the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences.

In addition to his role at Cambridge, Benjamin serves as editor in chief of Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest. During his time as a graduate student, Benjamin served as the chair of the department’s Resistant Action, Revolution and Social Movements research group. Benjamin now serves on the board of the Interdisciplinary Network for Social Protest Research (INSPR). In addition to his work with INSPR, Benjamin is a member of the American Sociological Association, British Sociological Association, the Political Studies Association, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).

Benjamin received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2017. Benjamin’s 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. The research established a new model for the analysis of mass mobilization occurring beyond the scope of established social movements: the Affinity-Convergence Model of Mobilization. Benjamin is currently preparing a monograph, based on his doctoral work, under the working title of "Mobilization Beyond the Movement.”

In addition to directing studies at St Catharine's, Benjamin is the lecturer for Social Movements and Protest in the Global Age (SOC3).  He also currently supervises on the Introduction to Sociology course (SOC1), and has taught extensively on Revolution, War, and Militarism (SOC8). From time to time he also supervises undergraduate long-essays for the Concepts and Arguments in Sociology (SOC4) course. From 2015-2016 he also held visiting positions at New York University, and CUNY.

Research Interests

Benjamin's research concerns the sociological analysis of political action and social change. His recent work has focused on mass mobilization, resistance, revolution, and social movements.



SOC3: Modern Societies II: Global Social Problems and Dynamics of Resistance

SOC8: Religion and Contentious Mobilization

Undergraduate Course Supervision:

SOC1: Introduction to Sociology: Modern Societies I

SOC4: Concepts and Arguments in Sociology

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Abrams, B. and Dunn, J.M. (2017) "Modern Revolutions and Beyond" Contention (5:2) doi: 10.3167/cont.2017.050207

Abrams, B. (Under Review) Divided by Transition: French (1789) and Egyptian (2011) Revolutionary Movements in Comparative Perspective 

Abrams, B. (Under Review) Offshoots from Revolutionary Waves: The Spread of Contention from Egypt’s Revolution to Occupy Wall Street

Abrams, B., Carvalho, T., and Gardner, P. (Under Review) Flags in Social Protest  

Grants and Projects

Economic and Social Research Council Overseas Institutional Visit Grant - £2400 (April – August 2016)

James Ferris Grant – King’s College, University of Cambridge - £1600 (May 2016) 

International Society of Political Psychology Small Grant - “Community Indifference to Collective Problems: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Collective Action, Change, and Resistance” - $4,000 – (2015)

University Fieldwork Grant – University of Cambridge - £7465 (March 2014)

Economic and Social Research Council Language Training Grant – University of Cambridge £4465 (October - February 2014)

School of the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference Grant – “Crisis and Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons” -  University of Cambridge £2125 (June 2014)

Research Groups & Affiliations


‘Best of the Festival’ Award (for Scholarly Communication) – The Cambridge Festival of Ideas (2014)

Rising Stars Award (for Public Engagement) – University of Cambridge (2013)

Economic and Social Research Council PhD Scholarship - University of Cambridge (2013-2017)

Scholar’s Prize (for Academic Excellence) – King’s College, University of Cambridge (2011/12)

Additional Information


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge (2017)

MPhil in Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge (2013)

BA & MA (Cantab) in Politics, Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge (2012)


Selected Conferences

Conference Paper – The New School Sociology Conference: Crowds Masses and Mobs, Horizontal Self-Organisation in Egypt’s Revolutionary Crowds, New York City, April 2017

Invited Paper – King’s College Seminar Series, Resistance to Trump: Some Research-led Predictions, Cambridge, November 2016

Conference Paper – American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Regular Session – Divided by Transition: French and Egyptian Revolutionary Movements in Comparative Perspective, Seattle, August 2016

Conference Chair -  INSPR 3, Multidisciplinary Approaches to Social Change, Protest, and Political Mobilisation - University of Cambridge, 9th/10th June 2016

Conference Paper – Oxford Internet Institute Connected Life Conference- Offline Movements' Online Infrastructures: Contrasting Cairo and New York (2011), [University of] Oxford, June 2016

Invited Paper - The Cambridge Sociology Seminar - Social Relations and Popular Protests from 1789 to 2011, [University of] Cambridge, February 2016

Keynote Speaker - The Cambridge Festival of Ideas -  Technologies of Revolution, Cambridge, October 2015

Co-Convener - Change, Resistance, and Collective Action in Southern Italy, A Multidisciplinary Symposium, - University of Kent, 4 September, 2015

Invited Paper  - New York University Department of Psychology, Social Justice Laboratory - The Past, Present, and Future of Occupy Wall Street: Relations and Trends - New York,  June 2015

Invited Speaker- The Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Let's Talk About Revolution, Cambridge, October 2014

Conference Co-Convener - Crisis and Social Change: Toward Alternative Horizons,    [University of] Cambridge,  September 2014

Conference Paper - Theory, Action and Impact of Social Protest Conference - Revolutionary Politics and the Public Sphere in Egypt (2011) and France (1789), University of Kent, Canterbury, September 2014

Seminar Convener - King’s College Research Seminar Series, [University of] Cambridge, 2013-14

Job Title:
Director of Studies in Sociology at St Catharine’s College, Affiliated Lecturer