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Strategies for Social Change

Strategies for Social Change

Gregory M. Maney
Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum
Deana A. Rohlinger
Jeff Goodwin
Volume: 37
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Strategies for Social Change
    Book Description:

    Strategies for Social Change offers a concise definition of strategy and a framework for differentiating between strategies. Specific chapters address microlevel decision-making processes and creativity, coalition building in Northern Ireland, nonviolent strategies for challenging repressive regimes, identity politics, GLBT rights, the Christian right in Canada and the U.S., land struggles in Brazil and India, movement-media publicity, and corporate social movement organizations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8016-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. An Introduction to Strategies for Social Change
    (pp. xi-xxxviii)
    Gregory M. Maney, Kenneth T. Andrews, Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum, Deana A. Rohlinger and Jeff Goodwin

    The teleconference was scheduled for 1:00 in the afternoon. To the surprise of many, most of those invited to participate dialed in on time. Jokes about fashionable lateness among activists glossed over the realities of underfunded organizations and overworked individuals. The unusual punctuality reflected a deep sense of urgency, anger, and dismay. County legislators had just introduced a bill that threatened the goals of coalition participants. Similar legislation enacted elsewhere had produced disastrous consequences, inflicting tremendous pain and needless suffering on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of society.

    The conversation sometimes bordered on the chaotic, with twenty to thirty...

  5. I. Conceptual Foundations and Agendas

    • 1 Thinking about Strategy
      (pp. 3-22)
      David S. Meyer and Suzanne Staggenborg

      On June 24, 2007, a homemade bomb failed to explode near the home of Dr. Arthur Rosenbaum, a research ophthalmologist at UCLA. The Animal Liberation Brigade claimed credit for the bomb, issuing a communiqué on an animal rights website. According to the Brigade, “130am on the twenty forth of june: 1 gallon of fuel was placed and set a light under the right front corner of Arthur Rosenbaums large white shiney BMW He and his wife . . . are the target of rebellion for the vile and evil things he does to primates at UCLA” ( htm). The bomb...

    • 2 Choice Points, Emotional Batteries, and Other Ways to Find Strategic Agency at the Microlevel
      (pp. 23-42)
      James M. Jasper

      For years, activists have asked me what works of social science they should read that would make them better activists. It’s always been an embarrassing question because there is so little to recommend. I used to suggest Saul Alinsky’sRules for Radicals(1971), although a few years ago, when I reread it, I realized that even he mostly provided vague bromides. Other scholars recommend Gamson’sStrategy of Social Protest(1975), or Piven and Cloward’sPoor People’s Movements(1977). These are important books, to be sure, but they only deal with the effects of violence and disruption. Posing the question in...

    • 3 Three Mechanisms by Which Culture Shapes Movement Strategy: Repertoires, Institutional Norms, and Metonymy
      (pp. 43-58)
      Francesca Polletta

      The problem for those who want to theorize the role of culture in strategy is this: how do you get at how culture limits movements’ strategic options without representing activists as stupid, mystified, blind, or somehow limited in their ability to see strategic imperatives and opportunities that analysts can see? After all, if activists’ beliefs are jeopardizing their success, why not just change those beliefs? This is not to say that activists aren’t sometimes stupid, they aren’t sometimes missing vital pieces of information, and they aren’t susceptible to urban myths and sacred cows. That all goes without saying—for activists,...

  6. II. Activist Engagement and Movement-Relevant Research

    • 4 Raising Public Awareness of Domestic Violence: Strategic Communication and Movement Building
      (pp. 61-92)
      Charlotte Ryan, Karen Jeffreys and Linda Blozie

      In mass-mediated societies, social movement organizers augment direct organizing with media and other public relations work, hoping that increased visibility will reinforce strategic alliances, influence public attitudes, and, subsequently, forward desired changes in social institutions. Scholars have documented recurring obstacles that social movement organizers confront when attempting to communicate via mainstream media. Drawing on our sustained organizer–scholar collaboration, we map movement–media interactions on a mesolevel to develop a participatory and dialogic approach to communication that supports movement building (Barker-Plummer 1996).

      We first explain how reflective organizers with the Rhode Island Coalition against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and activist–scholars...

    • 5 Mobilizing the Generation Gap: Transnational Coalitions and Insider/Outsider Strategy in the Climate Action Network
      (pp. 93-119)
      Anna-Liisa Aunio

      On December 8, 2005, the twenty-fifth anniversary of John Lennon’s death, a group of attendees at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal gathered in the main hall and, to the tune of the Beatles’ “ We All Live in a Yellow Submarine,” began singing, “We all live in a carbon-intensive world, a carbon-intensive world, a carbon-intensive world.” Dressed in pajamas, lying on cushions and pillows, and surrounded by pictures from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous Montreal bed-in, this group staged their own bed-in to pressure governmental delegates in the climate change negotiations and commemorate the anniversary of...

    • 6 Local Strategies for Global Change: Working for Human Rights and Economic Empowerment in the Midwest
      (pp. 120-142)
      Jackie Smith

      A growing chorus of scholar activists is helping us recognize the value of doing engaged scholarship.¹ The previous two chapters in this section add to this chorus, illustrating some important lessons gained from using more participatory methods in our study of social movements. What is interesting about this recent flowering of discussion about the public and political roles and responsibilities of social scientists—what some have called public sociology or engaged scholarship—is that it has taken place simultaneously in a number of social science disciplines, beginning in the mid- to late 1990s, and that it coincides with a rising...

  7. III. Formation and Development of Strategy

    • 7 The Politics of Coming Out: Visibility and Identity in Activism against Child Sexual Abuse
      (pp. 145-169)
      Nancy Whittier

      In the early 1970s, gay liberation activists began to come out. Gay men and lesbians publicly disclosed their sexual identities in order to celebrate their identity, display their rejection of conventional sexual and political strictures, and create social change by challenging invisibility, stigma, and assumptions about the nature of homosexuality. In the following decades, coming out became a common way for social movement participants, and those who saw themselves as allied with those movements and their constituencies, to conceptualize identity disclosures, the relation between individual and collective experience and identity, and strategies for social change. People came out as feminists,...

    • 8 Agreeing for Different Reasons: Ideology, Strategic Differences, and Coalition Dynamics in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement
      (pp. 170-196)
      Gregory M. Maney

      From its inception in 1920, the state of Northern Ireland has witnessed conflict between, on the hand, the mostly Protestant, Unionist majority of the population supporting a political union with Great Britain, and, on the other hand, the largely Catholic, Nationalist minority seeking the reunification of Northern Ireland with the other twenty-six counties of the island of Ireland. A deep desire to ensure the retention of British links, coupled with a recalcitrant, irredentist opposition produced political and economic institutions largely controlled by, and favoring, the Unionist majority. During the 1960s, a civil rights movement emerged, using nonviolent forms of collective...

    • 9 Marketing for Justice: Corporate Social Movement Organizations
      (pp. 197-218)
      Belinda Robnett and Jessica Ayo Alabi

      Corporate social movement organizations, an emergent form of social movement organization, differs from both professional and entrepreneurial movement organizations (McCarthy and Zald 1977; Staggenborg 1988) in that it is led by both a professional and an entrepreneur leader and it is not dependent on foundation support because philanthropy is a core organizational component. The coexistence of these two forms of leadership shapes the organizational structure and facilitates outreach strategies that include those associated with both entrepreneurial and professional social movement organizations (SMOs); it also blends a general membership approach and a cadre approach (Cloward and Piven 1984). Although the strategies...

  8. IV. Strategy and the Consequences of Movements

    • 10 Land Struggles in the Global South: Strategic Innovations in Brazil and India
      (pp. 221-244)
      Kurt Schock

      Struggles over land are occurring throughout much of the less developed world. Although many of these struggles are rooted in centuries-old inequalities, conflicts have intensified in recent decades as a result of population pressure, environmental degradation, and the intensification of accumulation by dispossession. There is considerable sociological literature on why landless people and poor peasants rebel in order to attain land (e.g., Wolf 1969; Migdal 1974; Paige 1975; Popkin 1976; Scott 1976; Jenkins 1982; Skocpol 1982; McClintock 1984; Lichbach 1994; Wood 2003; Mason 2004). Yet the question of how peasants rebel has received relatively less attention. In much of the...

    • 11 Similar Strategies, Different Outcomes: Institutional Histories of the Christian Right of Canada and of the United States
      (pp. 245-262)
      Tina Fetner and Carrie Sanders

      In the United States, the Christian right has been at the center of the national political scene since the 1990s. Having consolidated a massive voting bloc of socially conservative Christians and influenced the Republican Party at the state and federal levels, this movement has grown substantially since its roots in the 1980s Moral Majority movement (e.g., Oldfield 1996; Berlet and Lyons 2000; Fetner 2008). In terms of policy results, the U.S. Christian right has chipped away at access to legal abortions, limited adoption and foster care by same-sex couples or even uncoupled gay men and lesbians, and secured funding for...

    • 12 Strategic Choices in Cross-National Movements: A Comparison of the Swedish and British Plowshares Movements
      (pp. 263-284)
      Sharon Erickson Nepstad and Stellan Vinthagen

      Cross-national movements are increasing as new information technologies permit activists in one region to learn about and experiment with the ideas, tactics, and strategies of movements in other parts of the world.¹ However, organizers who appropriate external movement repertoires must make alterations in order for the imported movement to take root in a new country. Such alterations often entail choice points—that is, decisions about how to resolve strategic dilemmas (see chapter 2). Yet we know little about the consequences of such strategic decisions, especially for cross-national activists who are trying to implement a foreign-born movement in a new context....

  9. Conclusion: Conceptualizing Strategy in an Interactive Processional Model
    (pp. 285-300)
    Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum

    In this chapter, I integrate insights and findings from the volume to create a model that reflects the processual and reiterative nature of strategy as a series of interactions between actors, targets, and opponents within specific cultural and structural frameworks. I begin with some reflections on different ways of defining strategy and the implications of those definitions for scholarship on strategy. Those reflections are then brought together to develop a model of strategy that integrates and interrogates the volume as a whole. The chapter concludes with some overarching lessons and implications for future research.

    A strategy is a plan of...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 301-304)
  11. Index
    (pp. 305-318)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 319-320)