Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change: Volume 38
Table of contents(16 chapters)
List of Contributors
Section I: Meso-Level, Intra-Movement Analyses – The Dynamics of Movement Fields
How do transnational social movements organize? Specifically, this paper asks how an organized community can lead a nationalist movement from outside the nation. Applying the analytic perspective of Strategic Action Fields, this study identifies multiple attributes of transnational organizing through which expatriate communities may go beyond extra-national supporting roles to actually create and direct a national campaign. Reexamining the rise and fall of the Fenian Brotherhood in the mid-nineteenth century, which attempted to organize a transnational revolutionary movement for Ireland’s independence from Great Britain, reveals the strengths and limitations of nationalist organizing through the construction of a Transnational Strategic Action Field (TSAF). Deterritorialized organizing allows challenger organizations to propagate an activist agenda and to dominate the nationalist discourse among co-nationals while raising new challenges concerning coordination, control, and relative position among multiple centers of action across national borders. Within the challenger field, “incumbent challengers” vie for dominance in agenda setting with other “challenger” challengers.
Adopting a two-sited approach, this paper examines frames deployed by a network of organizations by developing the concept of the transnational field. The transnational field is the geo-specific field within which the movement organizations are encompassed which can explain the differential power across ties in a transnational network. It enables analyzing whether frames at the local and transnational level are similar, remain as is or are altered within a field which is mediated by the power dynamics embedded in the political-economic-cultural relationships between countries. Using qualitative data, this study of ties between movement organizations in the Amazonian region of Ecuador (local level) and organizations in the United States (transnational level) provides evidence for empirical and narrative fidelity of frames at both ends of the network. The two-sited approach enriches the understanding of resistance to globalization by prioritizing the perspective of indigenous peoples in the Global South highlighting the North–South power dynamic. Departing from common assumptions about the power of US-based groups in the choice of frames deployed, the analysis show that ties between organizations in a transnational network are complex as they rely on each other for resources and information. We discuss the conditions under which local frames are deployed or redefined at the transnational level.
We develop theoretical and conceptual insights into a social movement’s strategic articulation, through an examination of the relationships among the conservative, moderate and radical organizations within a movement field before, during and after a wave of contention. Definitions for conservative, moderate and radical organizations that have been lacking in the literature are provided. Three U.S. cases are employed including the Civil Rights Movement, the Animal Rights Movement, and the AIDS Movement to illustrate/apply our concepts and test our theoretical assertions. We find a distinct conservative flank in movements which facilitates linkages to state officials. Moderates have a unique role as the bridge between the radical and conservative flanks. A lack of formal organization among radicals appears to incite state repression. The radical flank, or strong ties between the radial flank and moderates or conservatives, does not have a positive effect prior to or at the peak of a wave of contention when there is significant state repression. In the absence of state repression and after concessions or the peak of activism, moderates and conservatives benefit by distancing from the radical flank. Moderate organizations marginally institutionalize except when conservative movement organizations are absent; then full incorporation occurs.
Though the coexistence of nonviolent and violent groups within a single movement is a common phenomenon in maximalist campaigns (e.g., regime change, anti-occupation), the effects of this coexistence remain understudied. Focusing on primarily nonviolent movements with a simultaneous “radical flank” pursuing the same goals, this study builds on previous, inconclusive literature which narrowly accounts for limited and often case-specific radical flank effects. After conducting a series of large-N regression analyses using a subset of the NAVCO 2.0 dataset, this study finds that the presence of a radical flank (1) increases both the likelihood and degree of repression by the state and (2) is most significantly linked with decreased mobilization post-repression – yet, (3) is not necessarily detrimental to overall campaign progress.
“No Shaming This Slut”:
What effect does strategic frame adaptation have on movement continuation and popularity? Using a comprehensive online dataset from three North American cities, we show how SlutWalk’s continuous strategic adaptation of frames in response to criticisms and changing political and social climates has influenced its popularity over the past three years. SlutWalk’s initial “Shame-Blame” and “Slut Celebration” frames conveyed powerful messages that catalyzed protests and generated outrage mostly from young feminists during its formative phase. However, meanings of the term “slut” varied widely across racial, cultural, and generational contexts, causing the “Slut Celebration” frame to be problematic for some micro-cohorts of feminists and leading to a decline in protest participation after initial enthusiasm waned. The campaign responded to the criticisms by minimizing the use of the word “slut” and emphasizing the more transnationally resonant “Shame-Blame” and “Pro-sex, Pro-consent frames,” resulting in increased participation and continued prominence of the SlutWalk across North America.
Section II: Religion and Atheism in Social Movements
Despite the abundant research on social movements, there is sparse scholarly investigation of the link between community settings and how they contribute to persistent protest participation. This paper illuminates the cultural and social mechanisms within a religious retirement community that engender members’ sustained commitment to a ten-year long peace protest. A shared religious-based collective identity also deepens activists’ commitment to this cause. This study draws on semi-structured interviews with 14 peace protesters who reside in this community at two points in time: 2010 and 2013.
In this paper, we demonstrate the linkages between humor and political and cultural opportunities and present an analysis of the importance of humor for collective identity and framing in the New Atheist Movement, a social movement focused on reducing the social stigma of atheism and enforcing the separation of church and state. Drawing on a qualitative analysis of interview, ethnographic, and web-based data, we show why the New Atheist Movement is able to use humor effectively in the political and cultural environment. We further demonstrate that humor is central to the development and maintenance of collective identity and to the framing strategies used by the New Atheist Movement. Through a diverse range of forms, including jokes, mockery, and satire, humor is a form of resistance and also can be harnessed to support the goals of social movements. We use this case study as a basic for advocating for greater attention to humor within social movement studies, and greater attention to social movements in humor studies.
Section III: Movement Outcomes and Abeyance
This paper examines the conditions under which states include sexual orientation as a protected status in hate crime policy over the course of 25 years. Previous research in this area has generally focused on the passage of either general hate crime statutes longitudinally or the inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crime legislation via cross-sectional analysis. Moreover, previous work in this area tends to concentrate on two types of factors affecting policy passage: (1) structural factors such as social disorganization and economic vitality, and (2) political characteristics including governor’s political party and the makeup of the state legislature. We argue that a strong LGBT social movement organizational presence may also influence LGBT hate crime policy passage. Using an event history analysis, we test how state-level social movement organizational mobilization, as well as the state-level political context, affect policy passage from 1983 to 2008. Our findings indicate that political opportunities, including political instability and government ideology, matter for the passage of anti-gay hate crime policy. We also find evidence to support political mediation, as the interaction between social movement organizational presence and Democrats in the state legislature affect policy passage.
Social movements experience periods of intense activity and periods of abeyance, when collective action is very weak because of an inhospitable political climate. Non-democracies are extreme cases of hostile political environments for social movements. Drawing on a case study of the women’s movement in Franco’s Spain (mid-1930s to 1975) based on an analysis of published documents and 17 interviews, this paper argues that some non-democracies force social movements that existed prior to dictatorships into a period of abeyance and shape collective organizing in terms of location, goals, and repertoire of activities. Some social movements under prolonged non-democratic rule manage to link and transmit the aims, repertoire of activities, and collective identity of pre-dictatorship activists to those of post-dictatorship activists. This occurs mainly through cultural activities.
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