Search results1 – 10 of over 9000
This paper examines the identity talk of 30 activists from Hartford, Connecticut who work in the overlapping areas of labor, women's rights, queer organizing, anti-racism…
This paper examines the identity talk of 30 activists from Hartford, Connecticut who work in the overlapping areas of labor, women's rights, queer organizing, anti-racism, community organizing, anti-globalization, and peace. Rather than seeing this talk as strictly a function of the collective action context, this identity talk is analyzed in terms of the multiple social influences that produce it. According to this model, activist identity can be shaped by ideologies derived from social movement culture, biographical experiences with racial, class, gender, and sexuality-based marginalization, and the cultural resources from both pre-existing and movement-based organizations. The analysis of open-ended interviews with activists reveals three somewhat distinct kinds of identity talk: ideological talk derived from either the 1960s white Left or from black nationalist traditions; biographical talk that highlights either a single dimension or multiple dimensions of marginality; organizational talk that references the mission, constituency, or organizing philosophy of the social movement organization of the activist as her/his impetus for activism. I also find that these differences in identity talk are associated with different patterns of social movement participation. This analysis challenges social movement scholars to study identity talk as a creative cultural accomplishment.
On 18 March 2015, the transnational anti-austerity Blockupy coalition protested the inauguration of the new European Central Bank premises in Frankfurt. The purpose of…
On 18 March 2015, the transnational anti-austerity Blockupy coalition protested the inauguration of the new European Central Bank premises in Frankfurt. The purpose of this paper is to analyse this mass protest event by highlighting the organizational differences, possibilities, and conflicts that was involved.
The paper is based on participant observation of the Blockupy event and interviews with a group of Danish activists who also participated.
The paper constructs sociospatial narrative that unfolds through three different scales of organization: the Blockupy coalition, the participating formal and informal organizations, and the activist subject. This narrative explicates the mode of organization as a “convergence space” (cf. Routledge, 2003), with different “roots” and “routes” of organization (cf. Davies, 2012).
Thus, through an analysis of the modes of organization constituting this mass protest event, this paper restates the relevance of the concept of organization, which have recently been ignored or understated in favour of master-narratives of networks or the dichotomy of horizontalism and verticality. It concludes by posing a set of questions for further discussion among both activists and sociologists.
Scholars have shown many ways that social movements and democracy are deeply connected. Here, we demonstrate a previously unexplored process by which social movements…
Scholars have shown many ways that social movements and democracy are deeply connected. Here, we demonstrate a previously unexplored process by which social movements alter democratic practice. Democratic movements are often experienced as insufficiently democratic by the very activists who participate in them, impelling new practices. We present examples from recent research on democratic movements and then contend that this is a common occurrence. Building on Hirschman's analysis of organizational change, we develop a theoretical account of why activists find movements for democracy disappointing and try to correct this, either by transforming the organizations they are in or creating new ones. Hirschman categorized responses to organizational challenges as Voice and Exit; we define a combination of these we call Semi-Exit as a useful extension. We then show in some detail how both disappointment and creativity have been generated in two major movement arenas: transnational activism that links social justice with environmental concerns and the Occupy Movement.
Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of sharing the same risks for building solidarity, but it often unintentionally conceals the reality…
Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of sharing the same risks for building solidarity, but it often unintentionally conceals the reality that certain risks cannot be fully shared. Using interviews with activists involved in Combatants for Peace (CFP), a joint Palestinian–Israeli anti-occupation organization, this article illustrates how radically risks can differ for activists in relation to their nationality, as well as make clear the tremendous impact asymmetrical risks can have for movement organizations and their efforts to build solidarity. I argue that for movement organizations and joint partnerships working across fields of asymmetrical risk, solidarity is not about sharing the same risks; rather, it is about trust and mutual recognition of the risk asymmetries. Moreover, that solidarity building across risk asymmetries involves three general measures: a clear commitment to shared goals, a willingness to defend and support one another, and a respect of each other’s boundaries. In the discussion, this argument, which was developed through an in-depth analysis of CFP, is applied to the joint struggle in the Palestinian village of Bil’in to indicate generalizability.
Social movement research often focusses on phases of success and large protest events. By contrast, taking an interest in the question of how organizational change occurs…
Social movement research often focusses on phases of success and large protest events. By contrast, taking an interest in the question of how organizational change occurs within social movements, this study points out the importance of phases of low protest activity. The organizational structure of the Portuguese anti-austerity protests provides a thought-provoking case, as large protests organized by civil society actors other than the trade unions were a novelty in 2011. Furthermore, there are long periods of absence of large protests, and the organizational structure of the protests has undergone significant changes. Based on fieldwork in Portugal between September 2011 and March 2013, I differentiate between four phases in the organization of protests against austerity. I argue that it is mainly times of low degrees of activism – times that are rarely taken into account by social movement research – that lead to radical changes in the organizational structure of a social movement. The impact of the following factors on the direction of change is analyzed: (a) strategic choice; (b) values and normative commitments; (c) (potential) alliances and participants; (d) inspiration from other cases of social movement activism; and (e) learning processes, the history of social movements and the impact of memory.
Existing research indicates that collective identity is critical in sustaining social movements, especially in the face of significant opposition. We extend this…
Existing research indicates that collective identity is critical in sustaining social movements, especially in the face of significant opposition. We extend this literature by analyzing the ways collective identity evolves and develops over time to combat external barriers and obstacles. Drawing from a unique dataset on activists in the post-communist Czech environmental movement, we analyze how women rallied around their gendered identity to protest against nuclear power. Our analysis focuses on the case of the South Bohemian Mothers (Jihočeské matky), an organization that rallied specifically around the protection of children and healthy communities. The activists faced extensive obstacles including: post-communist patriarchal institutions and sexism; the South Bohemian Daddies, a male-dominated pro-nuclear countermovement; and pervasive anti-environmentalist sentiments. Our results highlight the complex and evolutionary nature of collective identity and the role it can play in sustaining activism in the face of external challenges.
This paper develops an argument about how contentious changes unfold in organizational fields, focusing on the role of uncertainty – and the networks people use to address…
This paper develops an argument about how contentious changes unfold in organizational fields, focusing on the role of uncertainty – and the networks people use to address uncertainty. We propose that as controversial practice gains traction and spreads, the nature of uncertainty facing organizational decision makers also evolves. This dynamic has important implications for how different actors and networks can influence change. We illustrate our argument with a mixed-methods case study on the diffusion of domestic partner benefits across US Fortune 500 companies. Our findings shed light on how – and when – social activists, corporate elites, and middle managers can influence the corporate decision-making process.
This chapter considers how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists in Namibia and South Africa appropriate discourses of decolonization associated with…
This chapter considers how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists in Namibia and South Africa appropriate discourses of decolonization associated with African national liberation movements. I examine the legal, cultural, and political possibilities associated with LGBT activists’ framing of law reform as a decolonization project. LGBT activists identified laws governing gender and sexual nonconformity as in particular need of reform. Using data from daily ethnographic observation of LGBT movement organizations, in-depth qualitative interviews with LGBT activists, and newspaper articles about political homophobia, I elucidate how Namibian and South African LGBT activists conceptualize movement challenges to antigay laws as decolonization.
The purpose of this paper is to question the idea of “passing a test” within activist ethnography. Activist ethnography is an ethnographic engagement with social movement…
The purpose of this paper is to question the idea of “passing a test” within activist ethnography. Activist ethnography is an ethnographic engagement with social movement organizations as anti-authoritarian, anarchist, feminist and/or anti-racist collectives. It is based on the personal situating of the researcher within the field to avoid a replication of colonialist research dynamics. Addressing these concerns, we explore activist ethnography through feminist standpoint epistemologies and decolonial perspectives.
This paper draws on our two activist ethnographies conducted as PhD research in two distinct European cities with two different starting points. While Léa entered the field through her PhD research, Claire partly withdrew and re-entered as academic.
Even when activist researchers share the political positioning of the social movement they want to study, they still experience tests regarding their research methodology. As activists, they are accountable to their movement and experience – as most other activist – a constant threat of exclusion. In addition, activist networks are fractured along political lines, the test is therefore ongoing.
Our contribution is threefold. First, the understanding of tests within activist ethnography helps decolonizing ethnography. Being both the knower and the known, activist ethnographers reflect on the colonial and heterosexist history of ethnography which offers potentials to use ethnography in non-exploitative ways. Second, we conceive of activist ethnography as a prefigurative methodology, i.e. as an embedded activist practice, that should therefore answer to the same tests as any other practice of prefigurative movements: it should aim to enact here and now the type of society the movement reaches for. Finally, we argue that activist ethnography relies on and contribute to developing consciousness about the researcher’s political subjectivity.
The purpose of this paper is to respond to Coombs and Holladay’s (2012a) concern that textbooks have had a powerful and negative influence on public relations’ curricula…
The purpose of this paper is to respond to Coombs and Holladay’s (2012a) concern that textbooks have had a powerful and negative influence on public relations’ curricula because they have positioned public relations as a function of business, rather than as a field of knowledge and practice that plays an emancipatory role in society.
The paper is a diachronic, thematic analysis of public relations textbooks dating from 1981 to 2017. This methodology is valid because textbooks not only disseminate the knowledge base associated with a community of practice, but they are also influential legitimisers of curricula and bodies of knowledge.
The findings show that public relations textbooks are slowly evolving to include activist studies as a content area from both a strategic business perspective and a critical perspective.
The sample size is small but sufficient to indicate the beginnings of a trend. While the influence of textbooks on curricula is waning as students look beyond prescribed texts to a wider array of readings, they remain the most influential educational medium worldwide (Fuchs and Bock, 2018).
The paper calls for a greater inclusion of activist studies in contemporary public relations curricula to prepare practitioners for changes to the communications environment, as well as an opportunity for public relations to reposition itself as an emancipatory field of knowledge and practice.
Activism studies, as a curriculum field, provide a foundation for positioning public relations as an emancipatory practice.
The paper proposes that incorporating activism studies into public relations curricula is a way for public relations to reframe itself as a field of knowledge and practice that plays an emancipatory role in society.