If you are looking to stay current on the best new books in the field of social movements, this should be a helpful post. Courtesy of the recent chair of the CBSM section of ASA, below you will find summaries of the books selected for the Charles Tilly Award and for honorable mention, as well as a full list of the award candidates. Many thanks to Nancy and the rest of the selection committee for sharing this with the Mobilizing Ideas audience.
Twenty-nine eligible books were submitted for the award, which was for a book published in 2012. Committee members were Nancy Whittier, Deana Rohlinger, Paul Almeida, and Drew Halfmann (committee chair). As the list below shows, we had an extremely strong field.
The prize went to Kathleen Blee for Democracy in the Making: How Activist Groups Form (Oxford). This is a remarkably strong book across the board: in theory, methodology, and contribution to the field. Blee’s methods and sample are unique and impressive, studying over 60 Pittsburgh groups addressing a wide range of issues from their first meeting through their development over time. As a result, Blee is able to analyze movement groups’ emergence, their process, what doesn’t happen, and their different trajectories over time. Blee shows that early choices shape groups’ paths and their success, survival, or demise. She looks closely at the turning points where decisions are made about which paths to take, the longer-term consequences of these decisions, and the ways that they can be modified or overturned and groups’ paths thus changed. Along the way, Blee engages with most of the major concepts in the field, like organization, internal structure and decision making, the influence of external context, frames, collective identities, and more, deepening them in ways too many to describe.
Honorable Mention went to Guillermo Trejo for Popular Movements in Autocracies: Religion, Repression and Indigenous Collective Action in Mexico (Cambridge). This ground-breaking book focuses on explaining movements’ emergence, growth, and development into protest or rebellion. Focusing on rural indigenous organizing in Mexico, the book builds a theory of social movements in autocracies, examining political opportunities, the role of religious institutions and religious competition, and economic forces. Trejo’s very impressive data include both extensive fieldwork and an original quantitative dataset on collective action in Mexico. The committee was impressed with the book’s depth and range of data and the innovative theorizing of protest’s emergence and trajectory. Trejo draws on and expands existing social movement theory about political opportunities by developing an ambitious case in an autocratic context, by meticulously analyzing data that are both micro/local and macro/comparative, and by incorporating under-theorized institutions like the church, the economy, and indigenous networks alongside the state.
Masooda Bano, Breakdown: How Aid Is Eroding Institutions For Collective Action In Pakistan. Stanford Economics And Finance
Kathleen Blee, Democracy In The Making: How Activist Groups Form. Oxford University Press (award recipient).
Clifford Bob, The Global Right Wing and the Clash of World Politics. Cambridge University Press
Michael Cepek, A Future For Amazonia: Randy Boran and Cofan Environmental Politics. University of Texas Press
Catherine Corrigall-Brown, Patterns Of Protest: Trajectories of Participation in Social Movements. Stanford University Press
Ashley Currier, Out In Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa. University of Minnesota Press
Nancy Davis and Robert Robinson, Claiming Society For God: Religious Movements and Social Welfare. Indiana University Press
Peter Dreier, The 100 Greatest Americans Of The 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall Of Fame. Nation Books
Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam, A Theory of Fields. Oxford University Press
Juliane Hammer, American Muslim Women, Religious Authority, and Activism: More Than a Prayer. University of Texas Press
David Hess, Good Green Jobs In A Global Economy: Making and Keeping New Industries in the United States. MIT Press
Abby Kinchy, Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops. MIT Press
Samantha MacBride, Recycling Reconsidered: The Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States. MIT Press
Gregory Maney, Rachel Kutz-Flamenbaum, Deana Rohlinger, Jeffrey Goodwin, editors, Strategies For Social Change. University of Minessota Press
Myra Marx Ferree, Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective. Stanford University Press
Doug McAdam and Hilary Schaffer Boudet, Putting Social Movements In Their Place: Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the United States, 2000-2005. Cambridge University Press
Holly McCammon, The U.S. Women’s Jury Movements And Strategic Adaptation: A More Just Verdict. Cambridge University Press
Thomas Medvetz, Think Tanks In America. The University of Chicago Press
David Montejano, Sancho’s Journal: Exploring the Political Edge with the Brown Berets. University of Texas Press
Jo Reger, Everywhere And Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism In The United States. Oxford University Press
Adam Reich, With God On Our Side: The Struggle for Workers’ Rights in a Catholic Hospital. ILR Press
Chris Rhomberg, The Broken Table: The Detroit Newspaper Strike And The State of American Labor. Russell Sage Foundation
Liliana Riga, The Bolsheviks And The Russian Empire. Cambridge University Press
Rob Rosenthal and Richard Flacks, Playing For Change: Music and Musicians in the Service of Social Movements. Paradigm Publishers
Jackie Smith and Dawn Wiest, Social Movements in the World System. Russell Sage.
Amy Stone, Gay Rights At The Ballot Box. University of Minnesota Press
Sidney Tarrow, Strangers At The Gates: Movements and States in Contentious Politics. Cambridge University Press
Guillermo Trejo, Popular Movements In Autocracies: Religion, Repression, and Indigenous Collective Action in Mexico. Cambridge University Press (Honorable mention.)
Geoff Ward, The Black Child-Savers: Racial Democracy and Juvenile Justice. The University of Chicago Press