Author Archives: Ben Lind

About Ben Lind

I'm an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the National Research University-Higher School of Economics in Moscow. My substantive research interests are in social movements, networks, and historical sociology.

Mobilization as a Network Problem

The majority of my research interests seek to answer two of the big questions in social movements scholarship. First, I am a sucker for the “mobilization question.” While some scholars have grown tired of this pursuit, I still find great appeal asking why social mobilization occurs during some times and at some places, but not others. Questions like those offer one succinct way to address the difficult theme of collective agency. Second, I am also interested in understanding the underlying organizational forms of social mobilization. For example, once mobilization occurs, do the participants organize in manners that fall back upon existing social divisions in the wider society or do they instead collect themselves in novel ways that reflect their own ideology and tactical decisions? Continue reading

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Filed under Emerging Stars in Social Movement Research, Essay Dialogues

After the Pussy Riot Trial

By Denis Bochkarev

Coverage of the Pussy Riot trial has been widespread.  For those unfamiliar, the punk band/performance artists lip sank an original “punk prayer” entitled “Mother Mary, chase Putin out” from the alters of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  Police arrested three of the five performing members in the days that followed and they have been imprisoned ever since.  Their trial was nothing short of a judicial farce leaving many observers to describe the formality (and consequential sentencing) as “medieval.”  The three members on trial were found guilty of “hooliganism to incite religious hatred” and will remain in prison for an additional nineteen months.  While the sentence surprises no one familiar with the Russian judicial system, what comes next?
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Internet Censorship Bill Proposed in Russia

The Russian Parliament has proposed legislation that would amend federal law to create an internet blacklist, requiring internet providers to ban access to each website appearing on a federally sanctioned list. Though intended to target child pornography and websites that promote drug use and teen suicide, some commentators have voiced caution that Bill № 89417-6 could be used to stymie collective action against the state.

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Social Movement Organizations and Online Directories

An open yellow pages type phone book

Photo by How can I recycle this

It has long been established that social movement organizations (SMOs) adopt many business-like practices in the pursuit of social change. These practices typically include acquiring labor, capital, and talent through a competitive process. Social movement organizations will then appropriate those resources toward acquiring the attention of the public and political officials. In order to sustain such attention, professional SMOs must engage with the public through both presenting self-initiated messages and availing themselves for further messages if prompted. After a publicized demonstration concludes, a professional SMO should prepare to receive–and answer–follow-up telephone calls.

In order to acquire the commerce of potential customers and possibly divert such commerce from competitors, local businesses will traditionally provide their contact information and location in community directories. Likewise, in order to acquire the attention of the public and possibly divert such attention from competitors, SMOs may provide their contact information and location in community directories. With the global rise of communication infrastructure, such directories have grown exponentially in scale and made great strides in centralizing previously fragmented information. One’s inclusion in these vast directories is typically cheap, if not free, and extremely convenient for organizations and the broader public alike. Continue reading

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