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Book part
Publication date: 9 November 2020

Ina Dimitrova

Purpose: In this chapter, I explore the current activist disability landscape in Bulgaria, focusing on its apparent insusceptibility to change. My objective is to examine…

Abstract

Purpose: In this chapter, I explore the current activist disability landscape in Bulgaria, focusing on its apparent insusceptibility to change. My objective is to examine the interplay between the conflicting parties, focusing on the factors that conditioned their successes and failures.

Methods/Approach: Relying mainly on directed content analysis, I analyzed website publications, online discussions, official statements released during the protests, as well as 18 interviews of mothers of children of disabilities and the data from five focus groups.

Findings: On the local disability scene, we discern two types of collective action – phantom disability activism and toxic grassroots mobilization. The first one held strongly to the traditionally construed notion of disability as confined in the need-based system and defined solely as medical condition. The second one – although very important for putting on the agenda issues as personal assistance and demedicalization – embraced deeply disturbing and toxic activist rhetoric, giving rise of an “abled-disabled” citizen thus reinforcing neoliberal images of human worth and failure.

Implication/Value: This chapter offers a closer look at the different meanings and implications of success, failure, and enabling or halting political renewal with regard to disability. On an empirical level, it adds more to the existing knowledge about the opportunities for, the role, the outcomes, and the specific features of alliance building in a context as Bulgaria, which presents us with specific combination of socialist legacies, post-socialist ways of abandoning disabled people, and, at best, short-term and transient embodiments of the “Nothing about us without us” tenet.

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Book part
Publication date: 14 December 2017

David Pettinicchio

Given the growing interest in social movements as policy agenda setters, this paper investigates the contexts within which movement groups and actors work with political…

Abstract

Given the growing interest in social movements as policy agenda setters, this paper investigates the contexts within which movement groups and actors work with political elites to promote their common goals for policy change. In asking how and why so-called outsiders gain access to elites and to the policymaking process, I address several contemporary theoretical and empirical concerns associated with policy change as a social movement goal. I examine the claim that movements use a multipronged, long-term strategy by working with and targeting policymakers and political institutions on the one hand, while shaping public preferences – hearts and minds – on the other; that these efforts are not mutually exclusive. In addition, I look at how social movement organizations and actors are critical in expanding issue conflict outside narrow policy networks, often encouraged to do so by political elites with similar policy objectives. And, I discuss actors’ mobility in transitioning from institutional activists to movement and organizational leaders, and even to protesters, and vice versa. The interchangeability of roles among actors promoting social change in strategic action fields points to the porous and fluid boundaries between state and nonstate actors and organizations.

Details

On the Cross Road of Polity, Political Elites and Mobilization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-480-8

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Book part
Publication date: 16 October 2018

Yang Zhang

Institutional actors are critical allies for grassroots movements, but few studies have examined their effects and variations within the non-democratic context. This…

Abstract

Institutional actors are critical allies for grassroots movements, but few studies have examined their effects and variations within the non-democratic context. This chapter argues that while institutional allies are heavily constrained and unlikely to give open endorsement to grassroot activists, some institutional activists indirectly facilitate movement mobilization and favorable outcomes in the process of advancing their own political agendas. Drawing upon in-depth interviews conducted in 2008 and 2012, I illustrate this argument by examining the Anti-PX Movement – a landmark grassroots environmental movement against a chemical plant – in Xiamen, China. I find that the environmental institutional actors were constrained and divided, yet some still fostered opportunities for movement mobilization and in turn exploited the opportunity created by the protesters to pursue their policy interests, thus facilitating positive movement outcomes. As long as the claims are not politically subversive to the authoritarian rule, this type of tacit and tactical interaction between institutional activists within the state and grassroot activists on the street is conducive to promoting progressive policy changes.

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Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-895-2

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Article
Publication date: 19 February 2021

Tommaso Gravante and Alice Poma

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the role of emotions in the polarization that emerged during the first months of the pandemic. So, the authors will…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the role of emotions in the polarization that emerged during the first months of the pandemic. So, the authors will analyze the social response of two opposing social actors: political elites that have minimized the risks of the pandemic and grassroots groups that have promoted mutual support for vulnerable people suffering from the various effects of the pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

For the analysis, the authors will primarily refer to Hochschild's proposal and the recent literature on emotions and protest. The method is to analyze official statements by politicians from the UK, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Italy and the social responses that have emerged from different mutual support groups and solidarity networks in those countries, as well as in Chile and Argentina.

Findings

The authors will show how the conflicting responses can exacerbate social polarization in our societies. This polarization goes beyond the political spectrum, and in some cases even social classes, and reaches into the realms of values, emotions and practices. The authors will also show how the response from grassroots activism makes it possible to overcome guilt, shame and other emotions of trauma, among other things.

Originality/value

An analysis of the emotional dimension of two opposing responses to the pandemic will show how these responses have a deep impact on society, ranging from demands for values and practices that legitimize a status quo, to discussing, breaking away from or overcoming social behavior based on individualism and social determinism.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Dominika Vergara Polanska and Galia Chimiak

The purpose of this paper is to examine motivations of social activists in informal initiatives and to understand why they opt for this more spontaneous and self-organized…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine motivations of social activists in informal initiatives and to understand why they opt for this more spontaneous and self-organized activism while openly defying the hitherto established way of founding non-governmental organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

On the basis of a case study of Poland, which had one of the most vibrant civil societies in the socialist region, it is argued that the characteristics ascribed to the functioning of civil society after the toppling of socialism are not reflected in its more recent state. A broader definition of civil society and social activism is suggested to include new types of informal activism, which tend to be over-looked and under-studied. The analysis is built on qualitative and quantitative data gathered in 2014-2015.

Findings

The argument put forward is that un-institutionalized engagement is qualitatively different from its formal and institutionalized counterpart. The recent growth of informal activism is indicative of a rebirth of communitarian engagement in Polish civil society and a reaction to the underside of its institutionalization.

Originality/value

In spite of the seminal role played by societal self-organization in the overturning of the socialist system in Eastern European countries, the development of civil society in the region after 1989 has been repeatedly described as passive and characterized by distrustful or individualist attitudes. However, these civil societies have been changing since, and these more recent developments have been neglected by scholars.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 10 March 2010

Victoria Carty

Netroots organizations are re-defining political struggle by providing the resources and environment necessary for political mobilizing, and are affecting the ways that…

Abstract

Netroots organizations are re-defining political struggle by providing the resources and environment necessary for political mobilizing, and are affecting the ways that parties and traditional groups now campaign, recruit, and fundraise. While there is no clear consensus in the social movement literature regarding information communication technology's (ICT's) influence on participation on political participation, campaigns, and parties, or on social movement participation more broadly, there is substantial agreement that the Net has increased information available for citizens and has changed the capacity for mobilization. The key question is if (and if so how) the increasing availability of information and more efficient mobilizing tactics enabled by the Internet translates into motivation, interest, and participation. As an electronic social movement organization (SMO), MoveOn has become one of the most successful advocacy operations in the digital era. This paper examines ways in which MoveOn has used the Internet and alternative forms of grassroots mobilization to fuse contentious politics with institutional means of reform via the electoral process. A case study of MoveOn is relevant to broader arguments regarding how the Internet is re-defining our understanding of mobilization and participatory politics, and demonstrates a shift in contentious politics and protest. The findings support the arguments in the literature that information sharing electronically can lead to a more informed citizenry, yet goes beyond previous research by suggesting that this refers not only to those that are initially politically aware, but also to otherwise uninformed or disengaged citizens (who have access to the Internet). This analysis also challenges previous research that asserts that there is little or no relationship between Internet use to obtain political information and political participation.

Details

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-036-1

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Book part
Publication date: 13 March 2019

Amanda Buday

The focus on local-level policy initiatives in US anti-fracking movements presents unique opportunities to explore interactions between professional advocacy organizations…

Abstract

The focus on local-level policy initiatives in US anti-fracking movements presents unique opportunities to explore interactions between professional advocacy organizations with regional/national constituencies and grassroots organizations with constituencies who will directly experience changes in local landscapes resulting from unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD). However, research on anti-fracking movements in the US has considered dynamics of interorganizational cooperation only peripherally. This chapter examines factors that motivate coalition building, sources of coalition fragmentation, and the progressive polarization of grassroots anti-fracking and countermovement activists using qualitative research on an anti-fracking movement in Illinois. While grassroots groups may experience some strategic advantages by collaborating with extra-local, professionalized advocacy organizations, these relationships involve navigating considerable inequalities. In the case presented here, I find that coalition building was important for putting UOGD on the policy agenda. However, when anti-fracking activists began experiencing success, institutionalization rapidly produced fragmentation in the coalition, and a countermovement of UOGD supporters was formed. I highlight how ordinary movement dynamics are particularly susceptible to polarization in the context of local land use disputes that “scale-up” to involve broader movement constituencies as perceptions of distributive injustice collide with perceptions of procedural injustice.

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Book part
Publication date: 11 April 2017

Golnaz Golnaraghi and Sumayya Daghar

The identities of Muslim women tend to be essentialized into binaries of what she is and what she ought to be (Golnaraghi & Dye, 2016). For far too long Muslim women’s…

Abstract

The identities of Muslim women tend to be essentialized into binaries of what she is and what she ought to be (Golnaraghi & Dye, 2016). For far too long Muslim women’s voices in North America have been marginalized by hegemonic Orientalist (Said, 1978) and traditionalist (Clarke, 2003) Islamic discourses. When it comes to issues of agency, empowerment, and self-expression, it is either imposed by Western ideals or regulated by traditionalist politics of Islam (Zine, 2006). As such, Muslim women activists must engage and negotiate within the dual and narrow oppressions of Orientalist and traditionalist Islamic representations of her (Khan, 1998; Zine, 2006). Given the scarcity of space provided in print media (Golnaraghi & Dye, 2016; Golnaraghi & Mills, 2013) for Muslim women to construct, appropriate, and remake their own identities, some have turned to social media to challenge these dichotomies through activism and resistance. Such a space is necessary in order to recover, resurface, and reauthorize the hybrid voices, experiences, and identities of the Muslim woman on their own terms in order to challenge hegemonic discourse. Highlighting the nuances of feminist activism, particularly that of Muslim postcolonial feminists that can make a difference to Critical Management Studies (CMS) as a community concerned with social justice and challenging marginalization and oppression. The “Somewhere in America #Mipsterz” (Muslim hipsters) video launched in 2013, the site for our critical discourse analysis, is one case where this resistance can be seen, showcasing fashionable veiled Muslim women artistically expressing themselves to the beats of Jay Z.

Details

Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-498-3

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Tommaso Gravante and Alice Poma

The purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis of Mexican self-organized grassroots environmental groups’ activism.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis of Mexican self-organized grassroots environmental groups’ activism.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on fieldwork in the State of Jalisco (Mexico), where the authors have carried out in-depth interviews with members of four self-organized collectives which are defending their territories, and following the sociological framework on emotions and protest.

Findings

The authors will show: how and where activism begins; the role of the emotions in various steps of mobilization (growth and decline) and in the construction of collective identity; as well as the role of emotions in the organizational and strategical choices.

Originality/value

The proposal aims to highlight the organizational forms of activism of self-organized grassroots environmental groups in Mexico through a sociological lens in which the emotional dimension of the protest matters to a great extent.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2010

Bryan H. Reber, Baiba Pētersone and Bruce K. Berger

This paper aims to analyze the opinions of newsletter editors in the Sierra Club in an effort to understand the roles an editor and newsletter content play in building…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the opinions of newsletter editors in the Sierra Club in an effort to understand the roles an editor and newsletter content play in building relationships in an activist setting. There are two goals: to examine editorial decision making in an activist organization; and to examine the role of interpersonal interaction as part of an organizational‐public relationship (OPR).

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews with 14 Sierra Club newsletter editors examined issues related to newsletter content choice, issue frames, sources, and mission.

Findings

The findings illustrate normative practices for grassroots gatekeepers. Editors saw their role as facilitating relationship building and activism among members. This has theoretical implications for OPR theory by suggesting a new facilitative relationship type.

Research limitations/implications

As all qualitative research, the findings of this study are not generalizable. This study is further limited because it focuses on a single organization and one communication channel.

Practical implications

Most editors suggested that content selection was based on the expertise of the editor or an editorial or executive board. This provides strategic communication opportunities for both the national and the grassroots organization, if the editorial decision making model is identified by strategists.

Originality/value

Mid‐level gatekeepers, such as newsletter editors, are an important public to study because of their potential impact on key publics. This paper provides both practical and theoretical implications. Practical implications include insights into how some activist gatekeepers make decisions and into information salience.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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