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.
How do I build identity and solidarity in a movement?
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.
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.
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
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