At the moment of writing, there are roughly 82 demonstrations taking place around the world: from North Africa to Europe, from New York City to Tel-Aviv. These protests lead us to ask several questions: Why are people so angry and dissatisfied? Were there no means to direct disaffection through traditional, institutionalised channels? The general issue of political dissatisfaction is not new per se. However, given the global nature of recent events it is necessary to examine whether current theories of political participation and mobilization still hold for protests in democratic and non-democratic socieites. Our aim is to better understand declined levels of distrust, increased protest and the pronounced call for more democracy. We invite studies that seek to explain these phenomena using a comparative approach: explanations can be at different levels of analysis (individual, organsational and institutional), though we encourage a focus on institutional explanations. We would specifically welcome papers that provide a) an overview of theoretical explanations for the general worldwide phejomenon (based on e.g. historical analysis, existing research and case studies as well as innovative elements), and b) papers which empirically test some of the existing theories. In the latter group we encourage the use of new data, but would also appreciate the use of time series data to track (and explain) the occurrence of the widespread protests, call for democracy or dissatisfaction. Studies that deal with more in-depth comparisons of two or more countries are also welcome.