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Protester/target interactions: a microsociological approach to studying movement outcomes

Political Opportunities Social Movements, and Democratization

ISBN: 978-0-76230-786-9, eISBN: 978-1-84950-105-7

ISSN: 0163-786X

Publication date: 2 August 2001


Despite the recent increase in scholarly work on movement outcomes, researchers have identified a number of areas that still deserve attention. Many of these criticisms have focused on the conceptual and methodological challenges that movement outcomes research presents. This paper contributes to these on-going discussions by arguing for a microsociological approach to the study of movement outcomes, one that makes face-to-face interactions between protesters and their targets the focus of inquiry. Taking this approach helps address two methodological challenges in the study of movement outcomes: identifying intended as well as unintended consequences of movement activity and establishing causality. Paying attention to what transpires during these interactions can shed light as well on the broader, more macro impacts in which most scholars are interested. Although useful for illuminating the immediate outcomes of protest activity, this approach is still intended to complement rather than refute existing strategies. I illustrate my argument with examples from extant studies as well as my own fieldwork with animal rights activists and their targets.


Einwohner, R.L. (2001), "Protester/target interactions: a microsociological approach to studying movement outcomes", Coy, P.G. (Ed.) Political Opportunities Social Movements, and Democratization (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 207-223.



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