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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.
The title of this series, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, reflects the triple foci of its volumes. These three issues that are so central to the identity of this series – social movements, conflicts, and change – are also prominent features with regard to the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. Thus we open this 27th volume of the series with three papers analyzing various aspects of Northern Ireland's civil rights movement, a social movement working for political and social change in a society marked by protracted conflict. The first paper, by Gregory Maney, innovatively analyzes the interrelationships between the Irish Republican Army's campaigns of armed violence and the nonviolent civil rights movement.
Lorenzo Bosi is currently ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Social & Political Movements of the University of Kent. His research examines social movements, political violence, as well as consolidated political identities and relations, in socio-politically polarized contexts such as Northern Ireland. He is also participating as an affiliated researcher in an international research project: The European Protest Movements since the Cold War.