Comprehensive overviews of European social protests during the last thousand years do not exist. But there are many historical case studies and comparisons of separate cases. Works on protests in pre-capitalist and early capitalist society are numerous, but most of them have not been published in English. Very helpful is Samuel K. Cohn Jr. (ed.), Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), a collection of translated documents covering numerous protest events in Italy, France and Flanders from 1245 until the fourteenth century. A full treatment of the Flemish peasant rebellion is given in William H. TeBrake’s A Plague of Insurrection. Popular Politics and Peasant Revolt in Flanders, 1323–1328 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993). A classical study on the English peasant uprising is Rodney Hilton’s Bond Men Made Free. Medieval Peasant Movements and the English Rising of 1381 (originally published in 1973; now available in an updated edition, London: Routledge, 2005). Peasant rebellions of the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries in Scandinavia, Finland and Iceland are discussed in Kimmo Katalaja (ed.), Northern Revolts. Medieval and Early Modern Peasant Unrest in the Nordic Countries (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2004). Studies of the German peasant war of 1525 include Janos Bak (ed.), The German Peasant War of 1525 (London: Frank Cass, 1976), and Bob Scribner and Gerhard Benecke (eds), The German Peasant War of 1525: New Viewpoints (London: Allen & Unwin, 1979). An interesting comparative perspective is developed in Roland Mousnier, Peasant Uprisings in Seventeenth Century France, Russia, and China. Trans. Brian Pearce (New York: Harper & Row, 1970). The Rumanian jacquerie of 1907 is reconstructed by Philip Gabriel Eidelberg in The Great Rumanian Peasant Revolt of 1907. Origins of a Modern Jacquerie (Leiden: Brill, 1974). A remarkable study of English rebellious farm labourers in the early 1830s is Eric J. Hobsbawm and George F. Rudé, Captain Swing (first edition 1968; London: Verso, 2014).
Urban rebellions between 1280 and 1435 are a major topic in Michel Mollat and Philippe Wolff, The Popular Revolutions of the Late Middle Ages, trans. A.L. Lytton-Sells (London: Allen & Unwin, 1973). Guy Fourquin’s The Anatomy of Popular Rebellion in the Middle Ages., trans. Anne Chesters (Amsterdam and New York: North-Holland, 1978) contains some useful insights too. Specific urban struggles are studied in, for example, Henry L. Seaver’s classic The Great Revolt in Castile. A Study of the Comunero Movement of 1520–1521 (New York: Octagon Books, 1966), originally published in 1928, and in Rosario Villari’s, The Revolt of Naples, trans. James Newell, Foreword Peter Burke (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993), a study of the rebellion of 1647. See also Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Popular Protest in Late Medieval English Towns (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Closely connected with these urban struggles were workers’ and journeymen’s struggles. A first exploration can be found in Catharina Lis, Jan Lucassen, and Hugo Soly (eds), Before the Unions. Wage Earners and Collective Action in Europe, 1300–1850. Supplement to the International Review of Social History, 39 (1994). The trade union of the Griffarins is described in Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘A Trade Union in Sixteenth-Century France’, Economic History Review, 19 (1966), pp. 48–69. Rudolf Dekker gives an informative overview of Dutch developments in his ‘Labour Conflicts and Working-Class Culture in Early Modern Holland’, International Review of Social History, 25 (1990), pp. 377–420. Information on later developments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is offered in Dick Geary (ed.), Labour and Socialist Movements in Europe before 1914 (Oxford: Berg, 1989), and in Stefan Berger and David Broughton (eds), The Force of Labour. The Western European Labour Movement and the Working Class in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Berg, 1995). Perhaps the most important form of workers’ struggle is the strike. An influential longitudinal study was Edward Shorter and Charles Tilly, Strikes in France, 1830–1968 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1974). An international perspective is offered in Sjaak van der Velden et al. (eds), Strikes Around the World, 1968–2005. Case studies of 15 Countries (Amsterdam: Aksant, 2007).
Food riots and other forms of crowd action happened both in urban and rural areas. Pioneering studies include George F. Rudé, Paris and London in the Eighteenth Century: Studies in Popular Protest (London: Collins, 1970), and Edward P. Thompson’s famous essay ‘The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century’, Past and Present 50 (February 1971), reprinted in Thompson’s Customs in Common (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993). An interesting case study (of a food riot in France 1775) is Cynthia A. Bouton, The Flour War: Gender, Class, and Community in Late Ancien Regime French Society (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993). Recent studies include Buchanan Sharp, Famine and Scarcity in Late Medieval and Early Modern England. The Regulation of Grain Marketing, 1256–1631 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), and Michael T. Davis (ed.), Crowd Actions in Britain and France from the Middle Ages to the Modern World (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
The standard reference for millenarian movements is still Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages. Revised and expanded edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970). But see also Andrew P. Roach and James R. Simpson (eds), Heresy and the Making of European Culture: Medieval and Modern Perspectives (Farnham: Ashgate/Variorum, 2013). Case studies include Thomas A. Fudge, Heresy and Hussites in Late Medieval Europe (Farnham: Ashgate/Variorum, 2014); Anthony Arthur, Tailor-King. The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster (New York: Thomas Dunne, 1999), and Sigrun Haude, In the Shadow of ‘Savage Wolves’: Anabaptist Münster and the German Reformation during the 1530s (Atlantic Highlands, NJ : Humanities Press, 2000).
The literature on social revolutions is overwhelming. Jack A. Goldstone offers a brief (sociological) introduction in his Revolutions: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). Useful is also Charles Tilly’s European Revolutions, 1492–1992 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992). Case studies include Geoffrey Parker, The Dutch Revolt (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977); Christopher Hill, The Century of Revolution 1603–1714 (London: Routledge, 1993); Albert Soboul, The French Revolution, 1787–1799: From the storming of the Bastille to Napoleon. Trans. Alan Forrest and Colin Jones (New York: Random House, 1974; second edition London: Unwin Hyman, 1989); Wolfram Siemann, The German Revolution of 1848–1849. Trans. Christiane Banerji (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1996); Francis L. Carsten, Revolution in Central Europe, 1918–1919 (Aldershot: Wildwood House, 1988); Pierre Broué and Émile Témime, Revolution and War in Spain, trans. Tony White (First edn: Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; second edn: Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2008). The best-studied social revolution is undoubtedly the Russian revolution of 1917; there is even an academic journal that is completely devoted to this topic: Revolutionary Russia, published since 1988. An excellent introduction to the topic by a participant is Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, trans. Max Eastman (1st edn New York: Simon and Schuster, 1932; Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2008). Important recent studies are Alexander Rabinowitch, The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd (first edn New York: W.W. Norton, 1976; Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2004), and Ken Murphy, Revolution and Counterrevolution. Class Struggle in a Moscow Metal Factory (Oxford: Berghahn, 2005).
The invention of social movements in ‘modern capitalism’ is reconstructed in Charles Tilly’s The Contentious French (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1986), and in Popular Contention in Great Britain, 1758–1834 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2005), by the same author. Craig Calhoun, Roots of Radicalism: Tradition, the Public Sphere and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012) explores early social movements and reveals some similarities with movements in the late-twentieth century. Interesting is Mark Traugott’s The Insurgent Barricade (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010), which reconstructs the invention and diffusion of barricades in from the eighteenth century until 1848. Labour movements as social movements have been discussed above.
There is a substantial literature on the history of peace movements, mostly focusing on national histories. Wim H. van der Linden has written two massive studies on early peace movements: The International Peace Movement 1815–1874 (Amsterdam: Tilleul, 1987), and The International Peace Movement during the First World War (Almere: Tilleul, 2006). David Cortright gives a general overview in his Peace. A History of Movements and Ideas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). The period after the Second World War is covered by April Carter, Peace Movements. International Protest and World Politics since 1945 (London: Longman, 1992).
Another class of movement bridging the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is women’s movements. Overviews are given in Janet Saltzman Chafetz and Anthony Gary Dworkin, Female Revolt: Women’s Movements in World and Historical Perspective (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986); Mary Fainsod Katzenstein and Carol McClurg Mueller (eds), The Women’s Movements of the United States and Western Europe: Consciousness, Political Opportunity, and Public Policy (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987); and Anna Bull, Hanna Diamond, and Rosalind Marsh (eds), Feminisms and Women’s Movements in Contemporary Europe (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000). On women’s movements in Eastern Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary after the collapse of state socialism, see Barbara Einhorn, Cinderella Goes to the Market: Citizenship, Gender and Women’s Movements in East Central Europe (London: Verso, 1993).
Social movements after 1945 are discussed in Hara Kouki and Eduardo Romanos (eds), Protest beyond Borders. Contentious Politics in Europe since 1945 (Oxford: Berghahn, 2011), and Martin Klimke and Joachim Scharloth (eds), 1968 in Europe. A History of Protest and Activism, 1956–1977 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). The literature on the movements of ‘1968’ is enormous. A good, but controversial, interpretation can be found in Michael Seidman’s The Imaginary Revolution. Parisian Students and Workers in 1968 (New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2004). Movements of the 1980s are the topic of Knud Andresen and Bart van der Steen (eds), A European Youth Revolt: European Perspectives on Youth Protest and Social Movements in the 1980s (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Recent protests are at the centre of Cristina Flesher Fominaya and Laurence Cox (eds), Understanding European Movements: New Social Movements, Global Justice Struggles, Anti-Austerity Protest (London: Routledge, 2013).
The literature on social protest and social movements in ‘actually existing socialism’ focuses predominantly on Solidarność in Poland. Informative are the documents collected in Oliver MacDonald’s [pseudonym of Peter Gowan] The Polish August. Documents from the Beginnings of the Polish Workers’ Rebellion (Seattle: Left Bank Books, 1981). The dramatic events of 1980 are the topic of Michael Szporer, Solidarity: The Great Workers’ Strike of 1980 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012). Contextual information, also covering later developments, can be found in Andrzej Rychard and Gabriel Motzkin (eds), The Legacy of Polish Solidarity: Social Activism, Regime Collapse, and the Building of a New Society (New York: Peter Lang, 2015), and in Jack M. Bloom, Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution. Solidarity and the Struggle against Communism in Poland (Leiden: Brill, 2013).
The Hungarian workers’ uprising of 1956 is at the centre of Bill Lomax, Hungary 1956 (London: Allison & Busby, 1976), and of Paul Lendvai, One Day that Shook the Communist World: The 1956 Uprising and Its Legacy. Trans. Ann Major (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008). A well-informed and broad contextual interpretation can be found in Adam Fabry (ed.), From the Vanguard to the Margins. Workers in Hungary, 1939 to the Present. Selected Essays by Mark Pittaway (Leiden: Brill, 2014). A more general discussion of East European Rebellions since the 1940s is offered in Kevin McDermott and Matthew Stibbe (eds), Revolution and Resistance in Eastern Europe: Challenges to Communist Rule (Oxford: Berg, 2006).
There is no good English-language survey of protests and protest movements in the Soviet Union. Fragments can be found in Marta Craveri, ‘The strikes of Noril’sk and Vorkuta Camps and Their Role in the Breakdown of the Stalinist Forced Labour System’, in Tom Brass and Marcel van der Linden (eds), Free and Unfree Labour. The Debate Continues (Bern: Peter Lang, 1997); Andrea Graziosi, ‘The Great Strikes of 1953 in Soviet Labor Camps in the Accounts of Their Participants: A Review’, Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique 4 (1992); Robert Hornsby, Protest, Reform and Repression in Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); and William Moskoff, Hard Times. Impoverishment and Protest in the Perestroika Years: the Soviet Union, 1985–1991 (Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1993). An informative but too optimistic analysis of workers’ struggles during the USSR’s collapse can be found in David Mandel, Perestroika and the Soviet People. Rebirth of the Labour Movement (Montreal: Black Rose, 1991).