Breen, T.H. 2010. American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People. Hill and Wang.
In the final years of the eighteenth century, political insurgents on both sides of the Atlantic attempted something radically new: to institute government by the consent of the governed. Yet these efforts played out rather differently in France and the United States. As exemplars, these two cases have long informed the theoretical imaginations of political sociologists and social movement scholars. Two recent works at the intersection of history and social theory, however, suggest that we may all need to recheck some of our basic assumptions.
With American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People (Hill & Wang, 2010), T.H. Breen has produced that rare work of scholarship that one actually might want to read in a hammock or a beach chair. Exploiting the organized obsession with the American Revolution, embodied in so many wonderful local history associations and library collections, Breen reconstructs the close-to-the-ground processes by which some communities remained loyal to the British Empire while in others the social network pressures to join the insurgency became close to irresistible. Continue reading
Worthen, Molly. 2014. Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism. Oxford University Press.
The role of ideas for collective action has long been regarded as central to the study of social movements. However, the focus fluctuates between implicit and explicit discussions. This vacillation is complicated by the fact that, at times, ideology has been perceived as a derogatory component only advanced by religious, social, or political extremists (Oliver and Johnston 2000; Kniss and Burns 2004). Too often, when scholars attempt to distinguish the role ideology plays in movement mobilization and potentially factionalism, it gets reduced to artificially simple and coherent sets of ideas that necessarily unite members. Yet, ideologies center on cognitive, emotional, and morally charged experiences for individuals and groups as they are localized and constructed in response to varied knowledge and conditions; it’s the very stuff that we have stakes in for understanding any social movement (Williams and Platt 2002). In light of this, then, ideological production and negotiation are vital to examine, as they point to how movements choose among alternative courses of action.
Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism by Molly Worthen takes up a history of ideas and institutions that undergird the twentieth century evangelical movement in the United States. Tracing the core act of ideas and thinking—judgment, reasoning, making connections—Worthen elaborates upon the evangelical “imagination” challenging readers to not just view it as a singular mindset. Continue reading
Summer has officially hit in Bloomington and across the country. It is hot and humid. People are wilting and as a result are more likely to be impatient and irritable. Psychologists have argued for decades that heat waves are associated with violent action and crime due to increased aggressive thoughts and feelings of hostility (Anderson 1989; 2001; Cohn and Rotton 2000). More crimes are reported during the summer than other seasons (Cohn and Rotton 2000).
If heat is related to hostility and aggression, is it related to protest participation? I’d suspect that protests are more likely to occur in summer months when more people are out and about in public spaces. People may also have more time off in the summer to engage in protests.
Are protests less likely to occur in the winter? Certainly, some protests have occurred during the winter, such as the Occupy protests. But were these an exception? And thinking more broadly, has there been research on how movements are influenced by environmental conditions such as weather, ecosystems, spatial layouts of communities, etc.?
My quick search on movements and weather did not yield any results. Does anyone know if there is any research on how environmental conditions influence movements? If not, maybe someone should start looking into this further…