Author Archives: Kevin Estep

About Kevin Estep

Kevin is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. He received his B.S. in Zoology and M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma, where he also worked in Student Affairs for five years before coming to Notre Dame. His research interests include the role that faith plays in mobilizing support for social justice movements, focusing on socially progressive activism within theologically conservative segments of Protestantism. He is especially interested in urban poverty and faith-based community development efforts directed toward urban revitalization

Nelson Mandela: Before Prisoner-Beyond President

The costs of participating in—much less leading—movements for social change are always high.  I’m remembering Olson’s Logic of Collective Action and a slew of rational choice perspectives on why people do/don’t participate in protest, which can be a bit depressing for those who have great hopes for improving society through collective action.  Maybe the best way to inspire is to remember the “great ones” who have paid the cost and seen tremendous results come from their sacrifice.  Maybe that’s why this infographic (produced by www.bestMSWprograms.com to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day) caught my attention.  Maybe it will provide a little spark for you too.

Click on the image below to see the full infographic.

Nelson_Mandela

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McCarthy Award and the Young Scholars in Social Movements Conference

A great strategy to grow an academic sub-field, like social movement research, is to connect the scholars who have made the largest contributions to the field over the past several decades to  the bright young scholars who are likely to make the largest contributions for the next several decades.  And then do this on a regular basis.  I had an opportunity to witness this in action at the annual McCarthy Award celebration, which is held in conjunction with the Young Scholars in Social Movements Conference.  Both were hosted by Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Social Movements a few weeks ago.

Pam’s public lecture.

Pam Oliver was the recipient of the 2012 McCarthy Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement in the scholarship of social movements and collective behavior.  Her talk on the centrality of race to social movement theorizing was fascinating and challenging.  Although her current contributions to the field are staggering, as I listened I couldn’t help wonder if some of her most important contributions are still to come.  Several other senior scholars in the field – John McCarthy, David Snow, Myra Marx Ferree, Hank Johnston, Daniel Myers, and David Meyer – were on hand for the celebration to “toast and roast” Pam, offering reflections on Pam’s work and her influence on the field.  It was not only a tribute to the Pam’s body of work but also to the collegiality among the senior scholars in our field. Continue reading

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