Social movement scholarship, especially in the US over the last decade, has focused on a host of smaller movements. I’m part of this trend as well, studying movement-based efforts to address contemporary slavery and trafficking. But lately I’ve been wondering—what’s the half-life of the average mini-movement?
I’ve been trained in two different traditions: the international relations literature on civil society’s boomerang effects (Sikkink, etc) and the (largely domestic) social movement literature on political opportunity. Somehow the first tradition—with its institutional focus on human rights, international institutions, and state power—focuses on the relationship between states and publics in creating and implementing norms. And the second tradition—with its focus on domestic political and economic trends and shifting public opinion—focuses on the relationship between issue framing, movement resources, and political opportunities to blend money and message for movement success. Continue reading