Looking Back on Five Years of Mobilizing Ideas

To celebrate the five year anniversary for Mobilizing Ideas, we are inviting contributors to revisit our first topic. In 2011, we invited a number of scholars to reflect on the recently published Digitally Enabled Social Change: Activism in the Internet Age (MIT Press, 2011) by Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport. The dialogue considered the emergence of social media and how it might affect movements. Now, with more hindsight, we ask activists and scholars what has changed in our thinking about the ways in which movements use social media, and to what effect.

Many thanks to our fantastic group of contributors.

Jennifer Earl, University of Arizona, (essay)
Deana Rohlinger, Florida State University (essay)
Paul-Brian McInerney, University of Illinois at Chicago (essay)

Editors in Chief,
Grace Yukich, David Ortiz, Rory McVeigh, Guillermo Trejo

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Informing Activists: How do movements influence elections?

Fabio Rojas

How do movements influence elections?

Recommended Readings

CLASSIC:

Meyer, David S., and Sidney G. Tarrow. 1998. The social movement society: Contentious politics for a new century. Rowman & Littlefield,

CONTEMPORARY:

Heaney, Michael, and Fabio Rojas. 2011. “The partisan dynamics of contention: demobilization of the antiwar movement in the United States, 2007-2009.” Mobilization: An International Quarterly 16, no. 1: 45-64.

REVIEW:

Schwartz, Mildred A. 2010. “Interactions between social movements and US political parties.” Party Politics 16(5):587-607.

 

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Informing Activists

Mobilizing Ideas is excited to announce the publication of a special series this month called “Informing Activists.” Coordinated by Jennifer Earl and Thomas Elliott (both at the University of Arizona), and in in partnership with the Youth Activism Project, this series includes videos from some of the top scholars in social movements, recommended readings, and other resources on topics ranging from framing to social movement consequences, all tailored to young activists, potential organizers, and/or potential protest participants. We hope you will share this series widely, especially with young people in your communities interested in working for social change.

Editors in Chief,
Grace Yukich, David Ortiz, Rory McVeigh, Dan Myers


The Youth Activism Project, which is sponsored by the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics, has joined with Mobilizing Ideas to produce a video series designed to translate academic research on social movements into actionable information and questions that can be of use to young activists, potential organizers, and/or potential protest participants.

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) is a network of ten scholars from various disciplines that have come together to understand how youth are getting involved civically and politically, including through sharing and producing civic and political content online. We are also interested in understanding the risks and opportunities that the use of digital media may play in these engagements. While the network invests in, and members conduct, basic research on these topics, YPP is also dedicated to translating relevant research findings into actionable information for young people, activists, educators, and/or policy-makers.

This video series comes out of that desire to connect young people with critical research on activism. We’ve invited some of the top scholars in the field of social movements to talk about what their research has to say about how to be effective activists. For example, David Snow discusses what advice his pioneering work in framing has for activists looking to improve their messaging. Holly McCammon discusses how her work in strategic adaptation helps guide activists in modifying their strategies to changing contexts. Our goal is that these videos can help current and future activists better plan their campaigns to achieve success.

Each page contains at least one video that we hope will help young activists make informed decisions about their engagements, a bio about the presented, and some suggested readings if someone is interested in a deeper dive into the topic area.

We hope you find these to be helpful, and welcome suggestions about new videos. You can email us at yap.arizona@gmail.com. Good luck on making the change you envision!

Table of Contents

In what ways do social movements make a difference? – Thomas Elliott

How/When do movements make a political difference? – Katrin Uba

How/When do movements affect culture? – Jenn Earl

When do movements shape public opinion? – Neal Caren

How does movement participation affect people’s lives? – Marco Giugni

Who Participates in Movements and Why? – Bert Klandermans and Ziad Munson

What can be done about activist burnout? – Sharon Nepstad

How do I build identity and solidarity in a movement? – Rachel Einwohner

How much does the political environment affect my cause? – David Meyer

What are the best tactics for my cause? – Catherine Corrigall-Brown

How do I use online tools to help my cause? – Lissa Soep

What are the best targets for my cause? – Tom Maher

How do I adapt my tactics to the political environment? – Holly McCammon

When do I need an organization? – Jenn Earl

How do I work with existing organizations? – Grace Yukich

How can I build coalitions and increase diversity? – Rich Wood

What are some considerations for youth in organizations? – Sarah Gaby

How do I talk about my cause? – David Snow

What do I need to know about the media environment? – Deana Rohlinger

What are the risks of activism and can I reduce those risks? – Heidi Reynolds-Stenson

How Might These Topics Apply to a Specific Campaign? – Elizabeth Armstrong

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Digital Change-making: New Sources of Power and Hybrid Realities

By Jennifer Earl

I began researching digital protest during the 2000 Presidential Election by studying the strategic voting movement with Alan Schussman. Despite the invention and popularity of new platforms (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) and the expansion of mobile computing, most of what my collaborators and I have learned over the last decade and half reinforces the odd and unexpected findings that motivated Alan and I to push on sixteen years ago. Thus, instead of remarking on something that has changed in the last five years, as I was invited to do, I want to reinforce and amplify two shifts that have become ever more apparent over the last five years but have be applicable all along: (1) the importance of recognizing that flash activism is built on a different model of influence and power than traditional activism, and (2) the importance of recognizing the hybridity between online and offline life.

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@ctivism 2.0: An Attempt at Making Sense of the New Social Media Landscape #DigitallyEnabledSocialChange

By Paul-Brian McInerney

Donald Trump is our president-elect. Riding a wave of so-called alt-right (read: white supremacist and nativist) popularity, the reality show star and real estate mogul has landed the role of a lifetime. Trump and his supporters on the far-right have cultivated adherents by taking advantage of media echo chambers and subverting traditional news outlets (which have themselves been transformed in the age of social media). Using the web, Facebook, and (most important for Trump) Twitter, his campaign and he communicate directly to sympathetic audiences, unhampered by the “politically correct” cultural intermediaries that prevents so many of them from doing the same. The low cost of these technologies allows Trump and his far-right supporters to reach much broader audiences than they otherwise could. They also afford the ability to communicate in ways that were previously unthinkable for a presidential candidate, e.g., directly with sympathetic audiences without facing pesky fact-checkers and other intermediaries that may distort or contradict the message. Continue reading

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Mainstream Media and Oppositional Memes in the Digital Age

By Deana Rohlinger

It is an exciting and challenging time for social movements. Internet Communication Technologies (ICTs) have altered the media landscape, turning some of what we know about media-movement interactions on its head.

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From The Daily Beast

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Movements, anti-racism, and some ways through Thanksgiving

As a social movement scholar and a sociologist of race, gender and class, it’s hard to know where to start in making sense of the 2016 Presidential Election results. Regardless of whether one agrees that this election was a referendum on racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia, it is indisputable that this year, a populist message articulated in racist, misogynist, and xenophobic tones was a winning one.

One book that has captured my heart and mind, which I have been studying and teaching in my classes, is Paula Ioanide’s The Emotional Politics of Racism: How Feelings Trump Facts in an Era of Colorblindness. (This subtitle was selected long before the 2015 campaign season began, I trust.) This is not a traditional social movement book, but it helps to sort through many of the vexing challenges both activists and movement scholars face at this conjuncture. Ioanide asks and seeks to answer why a majority of the US public has been recruited to support policies that actually contradict their own material interests. Her conclusion: racist, misogynist and homonormative/phobic discourses, frames, myths and signifiers (see too: Racism without Racists) generated a set of anxieties and aspirations, what Sarah Ahmed calls emotional economies, that have been largely determinant of the political alignments of most people in the United States. Continue reading

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Application Deadline for Young Scholars Conference, January 10!

Event hosted by the Center for the Study of Social Movements, University of Notre Dame March 31, 2017.

In conjunction with the presentation of the John D. McCarthy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Scholarship in Social Movements, The Center for the Study of Social Movements at Notre Dame will be hosting the eighth annual “Young Scholars” Conference the day before the McCarthy Award events. The recipient of the McCarthy Award, David Meyer, will be in attendance and other senior scholars visiting Notre Dame for the award presentation will serve as discussants for the conference.

We would like to invite 12 advanced graduate students and early-career faculty to present a work solidly in-progress at the conference, enjoy an opportunity to discuss their work with some of the leading scholars in the field, and meet others in the new cohort of social movement scholars. Conference attendees will also be invited to the McCarthy Award Lecture and the award banquet on April 1, 2017.

The Center will pay for meals, up to three nights lodging, and contribute up to $500 toward travel expenses for each of the conference attendees. The Center will select invitees from all nominations received by January 10, 2017. Nominations will be accepted for ABD graduate students and those who have held their Ph.D.s less than two years. Nominations must be written by the nominee’s faculty dissertation advisor (or a suitable substitute intimately familiar with the nominee’s research, if the advisor is unavailable).

Nominations should include:

1. A letter of nomination.
2. The CV of the nominee.
3. A one-page abstract of the work to be presented.

Nominations should be sent via email to Rory McVeigh, Director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements, rmcveigh@nd.edu.

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2017 McCarthy Award Winner – David Meyer!

The Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame is very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 John D. McCarthy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Scholarship of Social Movements and Collective Behavior is David Meyer of the University of California at Irvine. The award not only recognizes David’s extraordinary achievements in research, but also the role that he has played in mentoring successive generations of scholars.

David has authored or edited six books and published well over 100 articles, book reviews, and reports that have shaped our thinking about social movements and contentious politics for several decades. Those who nominated him for the award also emphasized his tireless work as a conscientious mentor. Indeed, a group of his current and former students praised him for the attention he has given to their developing work while also characterizing him as a “constant cheerleader” who is “fully invested in supporting young scholars.” This year’s award ceremony will be held on April 1, 2017 on the Notre Dame campus. David will be giving a public lecture prior to the award banquet. At the banquet, several of his friends, colleagues and former students will be on hand to offer reflections on his work and influence on the field.

In conjunction with the presentation of the McCarthy Award, the Center for the Study of Social Movements will also be hosting the eight annual Young Scholars in Social Movements Conference on March 31, 2017. Advanced graduate students and recently minted PhD’s will be invited to present their work and receive feedback from the McCarthy Award winner and a distinguished panel of senior scholars in the field. A call for nominations for the Young Scholars Conference will be issued in a separate announcement.

We hope that many of you will mark your calendars and plan to join us for these events. Please be on the lookout for more information in the coming days and weeks—including instructions on how to apply for the Young Scholars Conference. We will distribute the news on the CBSM listserv and also post the news on our Center’s website.

 

Rory McVeigh

Director, Center for the Study of Social Movements
Professor of Sociology
University of Notre Dame
rmcveigh@nd.edu
(574) 631-0386

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