Race and Space: Volume 46

Cover of Race and Space

Contesting Boundaries and Inequities


Table of contents

(10 chapters)

Section I Race


This chapter offers insight on how existing paradigms within Black Studies, specifically the ideas of racial capitalism and the Black Radical Tradition, can advance sociological scholarship toward greater understanding of the macro-level factors that shape Black mobilizations. In this chapter, I assess mainstream sociological research on the Civil Rights Movement and theoretical paradigms that emerged from its study, using racial capitalism as a lens to explain dynamics such as the political process of movement emergence, state-sponsored repression, and demobilization. The chapter then focuses on the reparatory justice movement as an example of how racial capitalism perpetuates wide disparities between Black and white people historically and contemporarily, and how reparations activists actively deploy the idea of racial capitalism to address inequities and transform society.


Social Movements can play an important role in societal change, and Social Movement Organizations (SMOs) are often carriers of those efforts. SMOs differ from traditional organizations in the goals they seek to accomplish and how they operate. Typically, within Social Movement literature, the unique internal organization forms have been understudied and usually do not attend to the socio-structural aspects of those processes. Using a Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality (CRT/I) lens and organizational theories, this study analyzes an ideologically driven SMO case dedicated to transformative change and the leadership of structurally marginalized people and communities, particularly women and people of color. Analysis of this case reveals unique organizational dynamics and particular ways that socio-structural patterns influenced every level of social movement-building and organizational practices.

Section II Racialized Issues


Using archival data from the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri and current data from Fatal Encounters (FE), this study descriptively compared concentrated incidents of fatal police shootings of civilians in St. Louis, Missouri at two points in time – 1970 to 1980 and 2000 to 2010. This study also explored connections to race and income by mapping the composition of Black residents and levels of concentrated economic disadvantage using 1980 and 2010 United States Census data. Geographic Information Systems (GISs) results revealed noticeable similarities in the sites of fatal police shootings of civilians across the two time periods. Specifically, most of the incidents occurred in the northern and southeastern sectors of St. Louis City in neighborhoods with a higher number of Black residents and impacted by economic disadvantage. All of the individuals shot and killed by the police were male, and a majority were 22 years old or younger, and armed during the incident. Results from police perceptions studies from the 1970s and early to mid oughts are also discussed to posit that a persistence of police violence historically and presently may help offer key insights into how legal estrangement may ensue.


The nonprofit sector has come to deliver the majority of state-funded social services in the United States. Citizens depend on nonprofit organizations for these services, and nonprofits depend on government for financial support. Scholars have begun to ask important questions about the political and civic implications of this new organizational configuration. These questions have direct ramifications for the anti-prison movement given the explosive growth of nonprofit prison reentry organizations in recent years. To see how such organizations may impact political engagement and social movements, this chapter turns its focus on the intricate dynamics of client-staff interactions. Leveraging a yearlong ethnography of a government-funded prison reentry organization, I describe how such organizations can be politically active and at the same time contribute to their clients' political pacification. Staff members engaged in political activities in surrogate representation of their clients. While staffers advocated on their behalf, clients learned to avoid politics and community life, accept injustices for what they are, and focus instead on individual rehabilitation. By closely studying what goes on within a nonprofit service provider, I illustrate the nonprofit organization's dual political role and its implications for social movements and political change.


The national immigrant rights campaign of 2006 stands as one of the largest mobilizations by people of color in US history, yet less scholarly attention has been given to systematically comparing these mobilizations at the local level. To develop an understanding of what led to sustained mobilization, a comparative case study analysis of seven cities in California's San Joaquin Valley is employed. The empirical evidence is based on interviews with key organizers and participants, newspaper documentation of protest events, census data, and other secondary sources. I find that the presence and size of policy threats explained the initial protest during the spring of 2006 in all localities, but cities with elaborate resource infrastructures (preexisting organizations, histories of community organizing, and coalitions) had more enduring levels of collective action.

Section III Space


While climatic conditions are believed to have some influence on triggering conflicts, the existing empirical results on the nature and statistical significance of their explanatory role are not conclusive. We construct a dataset for a sample of 139 countries which records the occurrence of an armed conflict, the annual average temperature and precipitation levels, as well as the relevant socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic measures over the 1961–2011 period. Using this dataset and controlling for the effect of relevant nonclimate variables, our comprehensive econometric analyses support the influencing role of climatic factors. Our results are robust and consistent with the hypothesis that climate warming is instrumental in raising the probability of onset of internal armed conflicts and suggests that, along with regulating population size and promoting political stability, controlling climate change is an effective factor for inducing peace by way of curtailing the onset of armed conflicts.


How does state repression influence levels of mobilization in authoritarian regimes? This study argues that the relationship between repression and protest is temporally dynamic. Specifically, the short- and long-term effects of autocrats' coercive actions differ conditionally on each phase of the contentious cycle. This argument is tested taking advantage of an original database of protest events in Pinochet's Chile between 1982 and 1989. Using an Interrupted Time Series design, the results show that the State of Siege declarations issued in 1984 and again in 1986 had divergent short- and long-term influence. When the cycle was on an expansive stage, the State of Siege shows no immediate influence on the protests, followed by an increase in long-term mobilization. However, when the mobilization was declining, the State of Siege was associated with an immediate and prominent drop in mobilization, followed by a progressive decrease in the number of protests over the long term. This chapter contributes to the literature on the protest–repression nexus by providing new evidence on the dynamics shaping the relationship between state repression and civil disobedience in authoritarian regimes.

Cover of Race and Space
Publication date
Book series
Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN