Category Archives: Great Books for Summer Reading 2014

Review of Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia

Welcome to Resisterville

Rodgers, Kathleen. 2014. Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia. UBC Press.

By Catherine Corrigall-Brown

Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia by Kathleen Rodgers opens with a vignette. In 2004, residents of the small and remote Canadian town of Nelson unveiled a plan to erect a statue celebrating the contributions of the thousands of American Vietnam War “draft-dodgers” that had made their way to, and settled in, the region between 1965 and 1973. What seemed like a small local matter garnered significant international interest, including media attention from outlets such as the New York Times and Fox News. At the height of the controversy, the public discourse echoed the divisive debate that had surrounded the actions of the war resisters since the Vietnam War itself.  While some news coverage described the monument as lunacy, shameful, or cowardice, other outlets argued that the resisters deserved recognition and respect. Continue reading

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Collective Action in Fiction: Dive into Dystopian World of Wool

Howley, Hugh. Wool (Silo Saga). Broad Reach Publishing

Howley, Hugh. Wool (Silo Saga). Broad Reach Publishing

By Deana A. Rohlinger

I love reading fiction. I read it while I am eating my lunch, standing in line at the grocery store, and late at night when I really should be sleeping – whatever it takes to cram a little fiction into my day. Until recently, I was reluctant to admit what kind of fiction keeps me up until 1am – dystopia fiction. I cannot seem to read enough about what happens to society when, for one reason or another, everything begins to (or already has) fallen apart.

There are lots of books that I have gleefully consumed in the wee morning hours – Mira Grant’s tales of free press and politics in the wake of the zombie-apocalypse, Veronica Roth’s coming-of-age stories in a crumbling utopian society, and Margaret Atwood’s  terrifying description of the ultimate feminist backlash. What made me feel better about my preferences in fiction? Reading The Hunger Games trilogy and, more specifically, my decision to integrate the series into my undergraduate course on Collective Action and Social Movements. It wasn’t until I started brainstorming assignments for the class that I realized the appeal of dystopia fiction – these are compelling stories about power, repression, and (sometimes violent) social change. Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Great Books for Summer Reading 2014

Activism and the Contemporary Corporation

Sarah Soule. 2009. Contention and Corporate Responsibility. Cambridge University Press.

Sarah Soule. 2009. Contention and Corporate Responsibility. Cambridge University Press.

By Paul-Brian McInerney

My suggestion for great summer reading is Contention and Corporate Social Responsibility by Sarah A. Soule (2009, Cambridge University Press). I recommend it to scholars of social movements and collective behavior because of its focus on anticorporate activism. Much of the work in social movement research focuses on activism against the state. Historically, scholars defined social movements by that very feature (Tarrow, 2011). However, social movements are increasingly targeting nonstate actors. Soule’s book helps us understand how and why this happens and to what ends.

Soule begins by providing a broad overview of social movement theories, especially as they relate to actions against corporations. She distinguishes between contentious politics, in which activists target states, and private politics, in which activists do not target or involve the state in their actions. Soule rightly acknowledges that the scene on the ground often involves complex combinations of private and contentious politics, as is the case when the state is drawn into conflicts between activists and corporations. She illustrates the complexity of maintaining this analytical distinction throughout the book. Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Great Books for Summer Reading 2014