Category Archives: Essay Dialogues

How does Racialized Repression as a Form of Threat Affect Mobilization?

By Marian Azab

 

References:

Azab, Marian, and Wayne A. Santoro. 2017. “Rethinking Fear and Protest: Racialized Repression of Arab Americans and the Mobilization Benefits of being Afraid.” Mobilization 22(4):417-36.

Naber, Nadine. 2006. “The Rules of Forced Engagement: Race, gender, and the culture of fear among Arab immigrants in San Francisco post-9/11.” Cultural Dynamics 18:235-67.

Santoro, Wayne A., and Marian Azab. 2015. “Arab American Protest in the Terror Decade: Macro-and micro-level response to post-9/11 repression.” Social Problems 62(2): 219-40.

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Threat and Mobilization or Perception and Action

By Aliza Luft

Adrien Nemoz was 21 years old when his friends told him in horror that a stained-glass portrait of Marshal Pétain, the French Vichy regime’s authoritarian leader, was hanging in a chapel across the Fourvière Basilica. A tall, imposing Church overlooking Lyon, the Fourvière was seen by many as the moral center of the city. For Nemoz and his peers, it was unconscionable that a tribute to Pétain would hang in this holy place. After all, only several months earlier Pétain had agreed to an armistice with Hitler, resulting in the Nazi occupation of half of France. Something had to be done.

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Is Perpetuating Threat a Viable Strategy? The Case of the National Rifle Association

By Trent Steidley

The usefulness of threat in understanding social movements has informed a wide range work on topics like labor strikes, anti-union policies, the creation of ex-gay “therapy” centers and same-sex marriage bans. Naturally, social movements can use actual threats as a powerful mechanism to support mobilization. Left unanswered though is this: can a social movement that has mobilized in response to threat continue to mobilize around it even as objective risk declines?

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Mobilizing Threat

By Greg Prieto

While grievances are common, collective mobilization to address them is rare. Take the case of Xiomara, whom I profile in my new book Immigrants Under Threat. An undocumented single mother of three sons, she fled her home state of Zacatecas, Mexico in 2001 and crossed the border without authorization to escape her abuser, to be nearer to her sisters in California, and to avail herself of the economic opportunities al norte. Shortly after Xiomara arrived to California’s Central Coast, she met a man and the abuse began anew. Too fearful that her undocumented status would land her in deportation proceedings, she called the police only when her abuser began threatening her young sons. Besieged by the legal violence of the deportation regime, on one side, and gender violence, on the other, Xiomara recalled the period as a dark one, one in which she felt immobilized, deeply fearful, and alone.

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Threat, Here and Elsewhere

By Soon Park

This is a special phase in the history of the United States, one characterized by threat. Yet, the dynamics of threat are playing out a bit differently now than in the recent past. How so? A short answer: it’s about a clear and focused target for mobilization. To elaborate on that, I will first briefly discuss the concept of threat with an emphasis on how we arrived here. Then, I will consider how threat is important for both activists and observers, how the Trump-era is changing our treatment of threat, and how a historical case from East Asia helps us understand the current situation in the U.S.

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Youth, Social Movements & Activism Syllabus

Youth, Social Movements, and Activism Syllabus

This course provides an undergraduate level introduction to the study of youth political socialization and political activism. Young people are the backbone of most social movements from the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements to more contemporary examples like Black Lives Matter, #Occupy, and the anti-gun violence movement. The first half of the course presents an overview of theories of youth political socialization, political participation, and their role in social movements. The course specifically explores concerns about the state of youth political participation and the realities of participation, theories regarding how youth are socialized to participate in politics (and the impediments to participation), the history of youth in social movements (specifically why youth and college campuses are so important). The second half builds on this structure to review areas where youth are bringing new energy to political participation. The syllabus includes discussion in how youth have updated tactics, continue to redefine what counts as political, and incorporate new (intersectionality) and old (economic inequality) concerns into movements. The course is built around a midterm and final exam, as well as a research paper on a youth-oriented social movement that is broken up into several smaller “proposals” throughout the semester. Students are also assessed on their participation in class discussion over the substantive issues. The course serves as a point of connection between courses on youth and society, political sociology, political communication, and social movements.

 

The syllabus with usage notes and learning outcomes are available on the TRAILS website.

An un-gated link to Youth & Activism syllabus is available here.

Additional material are available here.

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Teaching Youth & Activism- Perceptions of Politics Assignment

This is a short (3-4pg) assignment that you may use as a part of the youth, social movements, and activism course.

Additional material are available here.

A link to a word version of this post is available here

 Assignment: Youth Political Participation Interview Study                      

Overview:  In class we have discussed, or will be discussing, how youth learn to be politically involved, perceptions of youth political involvement (particularly adults’ perceptions), and how youth may “avoid” being perceived as political. We have also discussed the realities around the diverse ways that youth are politically active. For this assignment, you will conduct one-on-one interviews (they should be at least 20-30 minutes, but you are encouraged to talk longer if it is going well) with THREE people you know or perhaps do not know so well regarding such themes. These can be friends, parents, family members, neighbors, strangers, etc. During your interview, like any sociologist, you want open and honest answers, and so you should make sure that they are comfortable sharing their beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. You should ask them the following questions. The goal is to get in-depth answers, and so you are encouraged to ask follow up questions (i.e. tell me more about that). It is okay if you do not get to all of the questions.

  • What were you taught about politics and activism growing up from your family, friends, and teachers? Did you have conversations about political issues at home or with friends?
  • Do you see yourself as politically active? What do you do that you would consider political? What would you consider activism?
  • Why do you engage in these forms of politics and activism? [If they do not participate in any activism or politics, as them why they choose not to participate]?
  • What do you think of politics in general? What do you think of people who are politically active? What would you think if someone referred to you as politically active or an activist?
  • Who do you talk about politics with? What do you talk about, and how often?
  • What sorts of issues do you think are worth getting active in response to?

After you have completed your interviews, you will write a research report on what you have found. Your report will be organized. It will have an introduction, conclusion, and a central conceptual focus (i.e. you should be able to summarize what you learned from your interviewees in one or two sentences). The body of the paper should be divided into several sections. The middle three sections should each receive equal weight in your write-up:

  1. An Introductory section that introduces the issue, broad research question, and the central conceptual focus of your paper.
  2. A Description and summary of your interviews. Describe who the THREE people you interviewed were, who they are to you, and when you interviewed them. Summarize their responses. What did you learn from them that you never thought about, or realized? What were the common themes and patterns of experiences that you saw across all of the interviews?
  3. An analysis and interpretation of these observations using one (no more than two) of the concepts developed in the text and class. Integrate your interview materials with lecture and text pertaining to political socialization, political participation, and political avoidance. Overall, you should demonstrate an awareness of some of the varied ways that engage with or avoid political participation. Make sure that you are not just defining the class concepts, but applying them. In other words, your paper should explain the concept, identify a couple of examples from you interviews, and then explains why they are examples of the concept.
  4. A reflective discussion about your own political socialization and participation. Have you ever thought about your political beliefs and actions? How did you learn “proper” political behavior, and do you express your political beliefs in culturally acceptable ways? Can you recall moments of ambiguity or tension, or peer pressure or policing, in your own development? Would you say that you generally conform your political beliefs to your friends and families’ beliefs or do you see yourself as challenging their political expectations? How and why?
  5. A conclusion paragraph that summarizes the main findings from your interviews and how they connect with the class concepts you selected.

 

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