No Cover Image

Geography and Social Movements: Comparing Antinuclear Activism in the Boston Area

Byron A. Miller
Volume: 12
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttts65n
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Geography and Social Movements
    Book Description:

    Byron A. Miller directly addresses the implications of space, place, and scale in social movement mobilization, and then demonstrates their significance in a detailed comparative analysis of peace movements in three municipalities around Boston.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8811-1
    Subjects: Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xx)

    Andrei Codrescu, more lyrically than any other author I know, captures the essence of geography. How we see things, and how things fit together, is the essence of geography. One can never stand outside geography. On the contrary, each and every actor, each and every institution, is constituted through it. This is not a trivial matter. Changing the location of things changes how they interact. Changing our own location changes what we see and how we understand. To view the world from a distance allows us to see broadscale interactions, but may also leave us too far removed to see...

  5. 1 Missing Geography: Social Movements on the Head of a Pin?
    (pp. 1-38)
    Deborah G. Martin

    Social movements, like all social relations, are geographically constituted¹ (Giddens 1984; Gregory and Urry 1985; Lefebvre 1991). Geographic constitution is fundamental to all processes affecting social movements. Not surprisingly, geographers have been concerned with social movements and other forms of collective action for some time, studying them in a variety of contexts as well as from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Early work by geographers includes that of Sharp (1973) on the diffusion of postal strikes, Demko et al. (1973) on geographic variation in campus unrest, and Adams (1973) on place-based characteristics fostering urban protests. In the 1980s, geographers increasingly...

  6. 2 A Geographic Model of Social Movement Mobilization
    (pp. 39-66)

    The dualistic formulations of traditional sociological treatments of social movements are, quite fortunately, falling by the wayside. Increasingly, sociologists and others conducting social movements research are attempting to integrate diverse perspectives. Numerous recent treatments make important strides toward developing integrated, synthetic approaches to the understanding of social movement mobilization that transcend traditional oppositions of structure and agency, socioeconomic context and ideology. These approaches increasingly emphasize the relationship between social movement actors and the contexts within which they operate. Unfortunately, the new developments in social movements theory still tend to neglect the geographic dimension through which both social movement actors and...

  7. 3 Place Matters: Interests, Resources, and Opportunities
    (pp. 67-92)

    The disjuncture between the geographies of lifeworlds and the geographies of systems represents one of the most intransigent and paradoxical problems facing social movements. On the one hand, most major political grievances derive from processes that are systemic in nature; they stem from the functioning (or disfunctioning) of the economy or the state. On the other hand, social movements mobilize around shared lifeworld identities and values that have their own geographies, usually different from those of systemic processes. Social movements are necessarily rooted in places—and not just the metaphorical “places” to which Melucci alludes, but rather in real places,...

  8. 4 Space, Place, and Mobilization
    (pp. 93-123)

    Memberships of peace organizations do not represent systematic samples of local populations.¹ Members are recruited through specific channels that skew organizational memberships both geographically and socioeconomically. Recruitment is the primary channel by which most organizations mobilize the resources they need to mount effective campaigns.

    Resources can take a variety of forms. Freeman (1979) distinguishes between tangible and intangible assets; the former can include such things as money, facilities, labor, and means of communication; the latter can include such things as organizing skills, legal skills, common identity, and solidarity (Jenkins 1983). Organizations may employ a variety of recruitment “technologies,” that is,...

  9. 5 Geographic Scale, Mobilization, and the Representation of Defense Investment
    (pp. 124-144)

    Defense investment, perhaps even more so than with other forms of investment, cannot be understood in isolation from processes operating outside the site of investment. A variety of processes—economic, political, ideological—operating on a variety of scales articulate in complex ways to effect specific investments in particular places. For instance, the economic turnaround of Massachusetts during the early 1980s (known as the “Massachusetts Miracle”) was driven in large measure by increased defense spending that stimulated defense-related industries and provided substantial secondary multipliers through the service sector (Barff and Knight 1988). Understanding how particular sites in Massachusetts came to benefit...

  10. 6 Local and Central State Political Opportunity Structures: Material Interests and the Shifting Scale of Struggle
    (pp. 145-164)

    Although NSMs such as the peace movement differ from older movements in their emphasis on “the personal as political,” they do not shrink from political battles in state arenas. Indeed, to the extent that these movements address oppression and domination stemming from systemic power relations institutionalized within and legitimized by the state, they must strive for a measure of state power. The primary distinction between NSMs and older social movements, instead, revolves around the form of justice they seek: empowerment rather than economic redistribution.

    Any understanding of the strategies and empowerment potential of NSMs must be contextual. Social movements, for...

  11. Conclusion: The Difference Geography Makes
    (pp. 165-172)

    Resource mobilization theory, with its foundations in neoclassical economics and thehomo economicusmodel of human nature, takes the individual as the building block of analysis: how individuals come to join and act in organizations is the focus of research. Political process research primarily focuses on state structures and dynamics (usually assuming an undifferentiated state), although it frequently does this in conjunction with analysis of organizational processes. New social movements research stresses broad structural changes that give rise to new demands, identities, and grievances, but usually ignores the ways in which political structures can shape or frustrate movements, and the...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 173-176)
  13. References
    (pp. 177-206)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-216)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 217-217)