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We argue that by conducting systematic research with communities rather than on communities, community-based research (CBR) methods can both advance the study of human…
We argue that by conducting systematic research with communities rather than on communities, community-based research (CBR) methods can both advance the study of human interaction and strengthen public understanding and appreciation of social sciences. CBR, among other methods, can also address social scientists’ ethical and social commitments. We recap the history of calls by leading sociologists for rigorous, empirical, community-engaged research. We introduce CBR methods as empirically grounded methods for conducting social research with social actors. We define terms and describe the range of methods that we include in the umbrella term, “community-based research.” After providing exemplars of community-based research, we review CBR’s advantages and challenges. We, next, summarize an intervention that we undertook as members of the Publication Committee of the URBAN Research Network’s Sociology section in which the committee developed and disseminated guidelines for peer review of community-based research. We also share initial responses from journal editors. In the conclusion, we revisit the potential of community-based research and note the consequences of neglecting community-based research traditions.
In 2010, 12 years after the signing and popular ratification of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (BGFA), the decommissioning of Irish Republican Army (IRA) weapons, and a…
In 2010, 12 years after the signing and popular ratification of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (BGFA), the decommissioning of Irish Republican Army (IRA) weapons, and a significant decline in political violence, paramilitary public symbolic displays (PSDs) remained as prominent features of the landscape of Northern Ireland. Their contents and locations constituted an important, contradictory, and contested part of the peace process. We argue that paramilitary murals and other symbolic sites, such as memorial gardens and plaques, continue to tap into ethno-national collective identities forged in conflict but also exhibit a range of reframing strategies that we refer to as historicization, articulation, and suppression. We further argue that contextual factors affect the likelihood of these displays appearing within a given geographic area. To assess these hypotheses, we conduct content and geospatial analyses of all identified PSDs in West Belfast in 2010. The results lend support to a context-sensitive approach to predicting the contents and locations of paramilitary PSDs in Northern Ireland.
Theories of ethnic conflict often assume that the cause of political violence is the same across actors and constant over time. I propose that causes differ, depending…
Theories of ethnic conflict often assume that the cause of political violence is the same across actors and constant over time. I propose that causes differ, depending upon the identity, grievances, and strategy of the perpetrator as influenced by the cultural, economic, and political contexts in which they operate. Together with Granger causality tests, multivariate time‐series analyses of political deaths in Northern Ireland support a multi‐causal perspective. Reflecting identity differences, Loyalist violence but not Republican violence was likely to increase during months when high levels of protest coincided with annual commemorations. By deepening grievances related to ethnic stratification, rising unemployment contributed to Republican violence, but not to Loyalist violence. Repression of Nationalists increased Republican violence but decreased Loyalist violence, supporting a see‐saw conceptualization of political opportunities in divided societies. The findings highlight the need for sensitivity in both conflict research and management to differences between actors and across social contexts.
Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of threats, political opportunities, prior social ties, ideological compatibility, and resources for…
Social movement scholarship convincingly highlights the importance of threats, political opportunities, prior social ties, ideological compatibility, and resources for coalition formation. Based on interviews with Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists involved in two transnational coalitions in Israel/Palestine, this chapter illustrates the emergence of transnational coalitions, particularly those that cross polarized ethno-national divides, depends not only on such facilitators, but also, and critically, on the belief that such diverse cooperation is strategic. I argue these unique coalitions intentionally formed with individuals and organizations situated in different national communities out of a strategic decision by the Palestinian initiators, given the closed political opportunity structure they faced domestically, to enlarge the scope of conflict by drawing in new people and communities who may have some leverage on the Israeli government. Consequently, this chapter also makes clear that partners in the Global South make intentional choices about who to partner with, and that the agency is not solely linked with their more privileged partners in the Global North (cf., Bob, 2001; Widener, 2007). Finally, it illustrates that coalition partners are recruited not only because of social ties, prior histories of interaction, ideological similarity, and shared organizational framing, but also due to key considerations including perceptions of what the ethno-national diversity, varying networks, and differing privileges make available.
A growing body of research on nonviolent movements has focused upon backfire or the paradox of repression, whereby repression increases support for these movements and the…
A growing body of research on nonviolent movements has focused upon backfire or the paradox of repression, whereby repression increases support for these movements and the likelihood of their achieving their goals. The relationship between reforms and nonviolent movements, however, has received less attention. The existence of the paradox of repression suggests the inverse possibility of the paradox of reform, whereby reforms drain support away from nonviolent movements or even contribute to greater support for violent forms of contention. An exploratory, triangulated analysis of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland establishes an instance of the paradox. Within the civil rights movement, the announcement of reforms contributed to the exiting of moderates and the growing influence of those less committed to nonviolent forms of contention. Dominant group backlash resulted in vigilante attacks on both the movement and minority areas, intensified repression, and stalling on promised reforms. In response to these changed conditions, many in the minority group came to see armed rebellion as a more viable form of struggle for social justice than nonviolent protest. The case underscores the need to carefully consider the mediating role of reforms in the relationship between repression and nonviolent mobilization as well as to recognize multiple internal and external obstacles that promised yet slowly implemented reforms can present to movements pursuing social change through nonviolence.
Political leaders often deploy religious symbols and language to legitimate their war polices while opponents use it to forestall or control war. We examine George W…
Political leaders often deploy religious symbols and language to legitimate their war polices while opponents use it to forestall or control war. We examine George W. Bush's religious discourse in the post-9/11 and Iraq War era and find that it was marked by binary thinking and the demonizing of a largely religious enemy. Our analysis of the statements of 15 US peace movement organizations after 9/11 further reveals that the US peace movement had three primary responses to Bush's religiously based discourse in support of war.
First, they directly challenged his binaries and his demonizing of a broadly defined, religious enemy. Second, they harnessed the President's religious discourse to turn it against him and his policies. Third, they constructed oppositional knowledge by providing corrective information about Islam.
By examining the movement's discourses over a 15-year period that spans five major conflict periods, our analysis also shows a close relationship between the peace movement's use of religious discourse and its identity-based talk. In addition, we found a close relationship between the movement's religious discourses and its promotion of more costly forms of politics, i.e., extrainstitutional, protest-based politics. Thus, we also argue that the US peace movement's religious discourses during major conflict periods are both strategic and driven by individual agency, are not only tactical but also expressive, and are intended to have both outward and inward effects.
Researchers have mostly studied armed rebellions and policy-oriented protest movements separately. This article argues that, by altering the structure of political…
Researchers have mostly studied armed rebellions and policy-oriented protest movements separately. This article argues that, by altering the structure of political opportunity facing insurgents, the two types of contention can facilitate one another's emergence, particularly in divided societies with rigid ethnic states lacking legitimacy. As an illustration, the author examines ethno-nationalist contention in Northern Ireland between 1955 and 1972. Defeat of the IRA's (Irish Republican Army) border campaign contributed to the liberalization of the policies of the Northern Ireland state. Republicans remaining active became receptive to new strategies. Republican organizations subsequently formed an integral part of a civil rights movement. The movement entailed nonviolent mass civil disobedience in the pursuit of equal citizenship rights for the Nationalist minority. A mixture of state concessions and repression contributed to the resurgence of armed Republicanism. The findings suggest the need for greater attention to the overlap and interaction between different goals and forms of political contention.
Why do some indigenous rights campaigns succeed while others fail? I explain the contrasting outcomes of two campaigns in terms of contention between rival transnational…
Why do some indigenous rights campaigns succeed while others fail? I explain the contrasting outcomes of two campaigns in terms of contention between rival transnational issue networks. Because of its considerable resources, organizational strength, positive member dynamics, salient indigenous identity, persuasive framing and effective tactics, the network supporting the San Blas Kuna in Panama readily took advantage of emerging political opportunities to secure the creation of a national park. The park has protected Kunan lands from further encroachments. With limited resources, weak organizational capacities, paternalistic dynamics, multiple indigenous identities, a narrow frame and ill-advised tactics, the network supporting the Yanomami in the Brazilian Amazon struggled in the face of both a strong, savvy, well-coordinated opposition and a more slowly opening, often fluctuating structure of political opportunity. The network tentatively secured an Indian reserve only after a considerable loss of indigenous lives, environmental destruction and cultural disruption. The findings underscore the need to account for organized opposition as well as for transnational and local processes when explaining the policy consequences of indigenous rights movements.