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I've heard there are studies that show how only a bunch of people are necessary to direct a protest and manipulate it to some extent.

However I would need references for that and I couldn't find them.

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    You couldn't perform such a "study" on this exact question. It doesn't follow medical ethics-people could get hurt. There are studies on group psychology. – Razie Mah Mar 5 '14 at 5:17
  • Please specify what you are looking for more exactly. I started searching for astroturfing and protest and started getting way to many diverse possibilities. Here's one: emeraldinsight.com/books.htm?chapterid=1758234 – Razie Mah Mar 5 '14 at 6:44
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    You may start with Steven Mann's "Chaos Theory and Strategic Thought", for instance (PDF). This topic is very interesting, but the question, in a way it is asked, does not fit well in SE paradigm of Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. You are asking for a list of references, with no prior own research, and every answer can be equally valid (hence my close-vote). Consider reading some studies and asking more specific questions. – bytebuster for Long Usernames May 17 '14 at 1:06
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    @bytebuster Whelp. I guess that's it. Time to shut down politics.se. As soon as the Stack Exchange network started accepting sociological Q&A sites, that 2010 blog post was rendered pointless as the burden of proof is much harder to find on the soft science (or no science) stacks. The question may not be worded the best, but the level of prior research you are demanding far exceeds "What is the capital of Bolivia?" level of preparation. – LateralFractal Oct 17 '14 at 1:14
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems like a better fit for psychology.SE – Texas Red Jun 13 '18 at 23:27
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Well, I did find a research paper supporting your claim but it is from the Cato Institute which I believe may pose a bias concern to some. (financially supported and founded by Koch Industries).

However, it does support OPs claim;

only a bunch of people are necessary to direct a protest and manipulate it to some extent

http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-journal/1994/5/cj14n1-13.pdf

Your claim is supported by the section titled "Role of the Entrepreneur"

  • excerpt of section

    For a riot to begin, it is necessary but not sufficient that there be many people who want to riot and who believe that others want to riot too. One more hurdle has to be overcome. Even in an unstable gathering, the first perpetrator of a misdemeanor is at risk if the police are willing and able to zero in on him. Thus, someone has to serve as a catalyst — a sort of entrepreneur to get things going — in Buford’s account usually by breaking a window (a signal that can be heard by many who do not see it).

The section "Formation of Action Nodes" is another important point further fueling OPs claim.

  • excerpt of section

    As we saw in the case of Los Angeles, riots do not occur everywhere at once. Most of the homes and businesses in south-central L.A. and Koreatown (which cover a number of square miles) were untouched by the riot. Damage was concentrated at certain intersections and along certain strips, what we call “action nodes.”

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    Objecting to a paper on a basis of funding and political origin of its authors as opposed to methodology soundness is a major logical fallacy. (not surprisingly, more often observed by people who thing that Koch brithers are evil) – user4012 Oct 17 '14 at 15:22
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    @DVK you are assuming that my basis for pointing out the Koch bros as the financiers is bc I think they are “evil”? I'm merely pointing out that the supporters who have bc they in particular have IMMENSE political influence (which they use actively come election season) as a result of being the RICHEST entity in America. I think that those 2 KEY points may lead some (intelligent) people to believe they may perpetuate “their” agenda from institutions which receive their backing (Cato Institute), and get their money’s worth. May be naive not to consider it.... Methodology being a 2 part to it. – jackfree Oct 22 '14 at 21:20
  • (1) that's pretty much baseless insinuations (again, based on a logical fallacy). (2) Koch's major agenda is mostly arts philantropy. I'm sure the Met or other insitutions that get TONS more money from them than CATO are centers of conservative propaganda – user4012 Oct 22 '14 at 21:42
  • ... (3) Most importantly, if you think your line of reasoning is valid, you'd be OK with people having significantly more major bias concerns from sources that are financially supported by enormously more RICH and enormously more POLITICALLY INFLUENCIAL entity that dwarfs Koch brothers - US Government. Right? Right? – user4012 Oct 22 '14 at 21:43
  • (1) - I guess we can agree to disagree since you merely attack it rather than argue it. (2) I do not expect the arts to have a political agenda, rather a think tank on political academics on the otherhand....? (3) mediamatters.org/research/2014/08/27/… – jackfree Oct 22 '14 at 22:08

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