This paper presents a new dataset of urban ‘social disturbance’ events covering 55 major cities, 23 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 32 in Central- and East Asia, in 49 different countries for the 1960-2006 period. The data are compiled from electronic news reports in the Keesing’s Record of World Events and cover different forms of both violent and non-violent politically motivated disorder, including demonstrations, rioting, terrorism and armed conflict. The dataset contains detailed information on the individual event, coded in an Excel spreadsheet and supplied with extracts from the Keesing’s text files. The data are also organized into annual observations of the number of violent and non-violent events per city, facilitating cross-sectional time-series analyses. A total of 3,375 events have been recorded for these cities, of which 1,378 involved lethal casualties.
The dataset has been collected as a means to study trends in and causes of urban ‘social disturbance’ at the city level. ‘Social disturbance’ here refers to a broad range of non-violent and violent political activity ranging from peaceful demonstrations and strikes to organized warfare or acts of terrorism. The issue of urban social disturbance and political violence, and how such events affect state stability, has gained increasing attention in the academic community as well as among policy-makers.
The data were initially collected for a research project on ‘Youth Exclusion and Political Violence’, with a particular focus on urban youth populations. The project is funded by grants by the World Bank Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD), The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Research Council of Norway.