Category Archives: Informing Activists

Informing Activists: What can activists in the West learn from the Arab Spring?

 

Three relevant pieces of research about social movements and the Arab Spring:
Mobilization Journal’s special issue on the Arab Spring:
http://mobilizationjournal.org/toc/maiq/17/4

Howard, Philip N., and Muzammil M. Hussain. 2013. “Democracy’s fourth wave?: digital media and the Arab Spring.” Oxford University Press.

Alimi, Eitan Y., and David S. Meyer. 2011. “Seasons of change: Arab Spring and political opportunities.” Swiss Political Science Review 17.4: 475-479.

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Filed under Informing Activists, The Arab Spring Six Years Later, Uncategorized

Informing Activists: How can I protect myself legally when I am active online?

Derek Bambauer

How can I protect myself legally when I am active online?

Professor Bambauer mentions several resources that you can use to protect yourself online. We have compiled links to these sources below.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)’s Surveillance Self-Defense offers overviews, tutorials, and briefings for how to keep your identity and your information safe online.

Fire (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.

The Tails system is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to: use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship; all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network; leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly; use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.

 

Further Reading

Classic:

Marx, Gary T. 1988. Undercover: police surveillance in America. Berkeley, CA: Univ of California Press,

Review:

Lyon D. 2007. Surveillance Studies: An Overview. Malden, MA: Polity

Contemporary:

Rafail, Patrick. 2014. “What Makes Protest Dangerous? Ideology, Contentious Tactics, and Covert Surveillance.” Intersectionality and Social Change. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. 235-263.

 

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Filed under Digital Media in Activism, Informing Activists, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Informing Activists, Social Movements and Elections, Uncategorized

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

Do movements make a difference? 

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

How do movements influence elections? – Fabio Rojas

How do I get (more/new/different) people involved?

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 can I build coalitions and increase diversity? – Rich Wood

What should I focus on when I am trying to create change? 

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

What should I think about when I am creating an organization?

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 can I be more convincing? 

How do I talk about my cause? – David Snow

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

How do I stay safe? 

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

How can I protect myself legally when I am active online? – Derek Bambauer

What else do I need to know? 

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

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Informing Activists: In what ways do social movements make a difference?

Thomas Elliott

In what ways do social movements make a difference?

Recommended Readings:

Classic:

Amenta, E., Carruthers, B. G., & Zylan, Y. 1992. “A hero for the aged? The Townsend Movement, the political mediation model, and US old-age policy, 1934-1950.” American Journal of Sociology, 98(2):308-339.

Review:

Giugni, M. G. 1998. “Was it worth the effort? The outcomes and consequences of social movements.” Annual review of sociology, 24:371-393.

Contemporary:

Biggs, M., & Andrews, K. T. 2015. Protest Campaigns and Movement Success Desegregating the US South in the Early 1960s. American Sociological Review, 80(2):416-443.

For more research on the outcomes of social movements, check out this searchable, sortable database of outcomes research.


We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.

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Informing Activists: How/When do movements make a political difference?

Political consequences of social movements is a big topic, and has received a large amount of scholarly attention. As a result, there’s a lot to discuss. We are grateful that Katrin Uba has provided an extensive overview of how movements make a political difference. We’ve divided this discussion into multiple videos by topic, all of which can be found below.

Katrin Uba

Introduction to Political Consequences

How does the political context impact my campaign’s success?

Which strategies are more successful politically?

Who should I target for political success?

Conclusion

Recommended Readings:

Classic:

McCammon, Holly J., Karen E. Campbell, Ellen M. Granberg and Christine Mowery. 2001. “How Movements Win: Gendered Opportunity Structures and U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movements, 1866 to 1919.” American Sociological Review 66(1):49-70.

Review:

Amenta, Edwin and Neal Caren. 2004. “The Legislative, Organizational, and Beneficiary Consequences of State-Oriented Challengers.” Pp. 461-88 in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule and H. Kriesi. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Contemporary:

Uba, Katrin. 2009. “The contextual dependence of movement outcomes: a simplified meta-analysis.” Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 14(4), 433-448.

For more research on the outcomes of social movements, check out this searchable, sortable database of outcomes research.


We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.

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Informing Activists: How/When do movements affect culture?

Jennifer Earl

How/When do movements affect culture?

Recommended Readings:

Classic

Gamson, William A. 1998. “Social Movements and Cultural Change.” in From Contention to Democracy, edited by M. G. Giugni, D. McAdam and C. Tilly. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Review

Earl, Jennifer. 2004. “The Cultural Consequences of Social Movements.” Pp. 508-30 in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule and H. Kriesi. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Contemporary

Snow, D., Tan, A., & Owens, P. 2013. Social movements, framing processes, and cultural revitalization and fabrication. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 18(3):225-242.

For more research on the outcomes of social movements, check out this searchable, sortable database of outcomes research.


We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Informing Activists