Tag Archives: collective identity

Understanding Power Dynamics in Cross-Class Coalitions

By Hahrie Han

As the daughter of Korean immigrants in Texas, I grew up knowing that to get what I wanted, I often had to find a way to translate across difference. Cultural, racial, linguistic, and socio-economic differences distinguished my family from the families of most of my classmates. Although I did not have the words to articulate it at the time, I implicitly recognized that the meanings and sensibilities I had were not always legible to my peers. Although I studied their world, they did not study mine. To fit in and negotiate the social dynamics of high school, I had to find ways to either make my world legible to them, or assimilate into theirs. In most cases, because they were many and I was one, because they were the norm and I was the outsider, because they had the weight of history behind them and I was a callow teenager, I assimilated.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Class and Movement Building

“Activists are on this. Let’s all be on this:” Is Gun Control on the “Gay Agenda?”


“Dear NRA, we made it through Stonewall, AIDS, DADT, and through Marriage Equality. You’re next.” This was among the many comments Jennifer Carlson and I received following the online publication of our recent op-ed in the Washington Post.

For many gun control advocates and activists, when meaningful policy change did not occur after Sandy Hook where a dozen elementary school children were murdered, it signaled their impotence in going up against the powerful gun lobby. To many, the failure of Congress to enact any of the four “gun control” bills this week is a replay of past efforts following those mass shootings.

In our op-ed, we argued that the Orlando massacre might represent new political opportunities for policy reform. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Disruption

Informing Activists: How do I build identity and solidarity in a movement?

Rachel Einwohner

How do I build identity and solidarity in a movement?

Recommended Readings:


Melucci, A. 1988. Getting involved: Identity and mobilization in social movements. International Social Movement Research 1:329-348.


Polletta, F., & Jasper, J. M. 2001. Collective identity and social movements. Annual review of Sociology 27:283-305.


Ghaziani, A. (2011). Post-gay collective identity construction. Social Problems 58(1):99-125.

Works Mentioned

Taylor, V., Whittier, N., & Morris, A. D. 1992. Collective identity in social movement communities: Lesbian feminist mobilization. Pp. 349-365 in Social perspectives in lesbian and gay studies edited by P. M. Nardi and B. E. Schneider. New York: Routledge.

Weldon, S. L. 2006. Inclusion, solidarity, and social movements: The global movement against gender violence. Perspectives on Politics 4(1):55-74.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, Informing Activists

Too Far or Not Far Enough?

By Kyle Dodson

While they can vary (considerably), most scholars’ definitions of activism typically involve the idea of participating in activities that are intended to support or oppose social or political change. As an empirical matter, however, movement scholars rarely observe activism in all of its forms. Instead, movement scholars tend to focus on a smaller subset of activities—such as demonstrations, strikes, and occupations—that are more contentious and more modular. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, New Ways to Define Activism

Movement InFighting: Can it serve a purpose?

The Animal Rights National Conference 2014 (ARNC) will be held in Los Angeles on July 10th-13th. An organization called the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) organizes the conference. As the organization says on its website, the conference is “the world’s largest & longest-running event dedicated to the liberation of animals from all forms of human exploitation and use.” Even with this clear declaration of “liberation,” and FARM’s history of not participating in politically reformist tactics, FARM’s conference is attacked virtually every year for not being abolitionist, or radical, enough. Prominent figures in the movement, such as Gary L. Francione, accuse the organizers of not adhering to strictly to all-or-nothing vegan advocacy on behalf of animals. Francione is a law professor, author, and a major figurehead in the movement. Most of his current work contains little outside of bashing activists who use anything except educational outreach about veganism. Continue reading


Filed under Daily Disruption

Finding Religion in Movement Activism

By Ziad Munson

In a televised debate last week, Indiana Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Richard Mourdock explained why he opposes access to legal abortion for women, even in cases when women are raped: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”  Mourdock’s comments set off a political firestorm.  Although they reflected an almost universally held view among activists in the U.S. pro-life movement, they are at odds with the views of most Americans.  And the incident reinforces the most common way most people view the relationship between religion and social movements: Mourdock roots his political beliefs in religious ones.  His comments are a prime example of how religion can act as a source of beliefs and justifications within a social movement. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, Religion and Activism

Mayer Zald: The Johnny Appleseed of Organization Sociology

By Huggy Rao

Johnny Appleseed or John Chapman, as his recent biographer, Howard Means (2011:9) notes was unique among his contemporaries because “he had an uncanny sense of where the frontier would migrate next. He would load up with seeds each winter at cider presses in southwestern Pennsylvania. Then, as the spring thaw came on, he would follow waterways and Indian trails into unclaimed land, make a clearing of a few acres, plant his seeds, and surround the nursery with a brush fence to keep the deer out. When the settlers arrived a few years later, his seedlings would be waiting for them”.[i]

Like Appleseed, Mayer Zald was unique, because he was blessed with an uncanny nose for interesting problems and phenomena. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, Organizational Theory and Social Movements