Professor Kathleen Blee is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is author of four books and recipient of numerous awards for her research and teaching. Much of her research focuses on right-wing social movements, specifically gender in organized racism.
Pundits and scholars alike have pointed to what appears to be increasing visibility of far right figures and ideas in mainstream media and popular culture. Below is an edited transcript of an interview I conducted with Blee in December about what her research can tell us about the results of the November election, how organized racism is changing in the 21st century, and what this means for social movement scholars going forward. Continue reading
As a teaser for our March essay dialogue (launching on March 4) on the legacy of Roe v. Wade and the long-term trajectories of reproductive movements, we’ve asked Christina Wolbrecht, Associate Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame, to comment on abortion and the partisan gender gap. Her full essay on this topic was published at Mischiefs of Faction.
The Roe decision, forty years ago this year, sparked a heated political battle over reproductive rights that continues to this day. Among the consequences, many believe, was the emergence of the partisan gender gap, the tendency of women to identify with the Democratic party and to support Democratic candidates to a greater extent than do men. This belief is not an accident: The women’s movement (specifically NOW), fearing a loss of political influence following the failure to achieve ERA ratification, first drew attention to the gender gap in presidential elections and sought to link it to the parties’ positions on women’s issues, such as abortion and the ERA, in the early 1980s. The expectation that abortion drives the gender gap remains popular; this past Fall, well-known FiveThirtyEight polling analyst Nate Silver attributed the on-going gender gap in presidential elections to Roe and abortion specifically.
As intuitively appealing as such claims may be, the association between abortion and the gender gap has been directly contradicted by three decades of social science research. I take a closer look at the partisan gender gap and the question of whether abortion is the culprit in a blog post on the political science blog, Mischiefs of Faction.
Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983
by Barbara Kingsolver. ILR Press, 1989.
When I was approached about writing a blog on good summer reading, I knew exactly what book I would write about—Barbara Kingsolver’s first book, which was non-fiction, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983. I read this book for the first time when I was in graduate school. I was taking a seminar on politics and organizations from Cal Morrill and Mayer Zald. I am not sure which one of them, or both, had decided to include the book, but it was fantastic. From a stylistic perspective, it’s great summer reading because Kingsolver brings all of the novelist’s intrigue and style into this non-fiction work (which also makes it a wonderful monograph for an undergraduate class). Her exceptional writing makes the book an effortless read and yet the lessons you can take from the book might haunt you for years, as they have for me.
Substantively, the focus of the book is on the Great Mine Strike of 1983 in Arizona. Phelps Dodge is the primary antagonist in the story, and the unions representing minors in several Arizona cities are the protagonists. Continue reading
Identifying as “the 99%” is sure to appeal to a diverse group, but the Occupy Wall Street movement has been dogged by issues of diversity. “Occupy Wall Street is a men’s movement,” blasts a recent brochure from feminist blog RadFem-HUB. Women’s interests are being pushed aside, it declares, and men are assuming positions of power. Chauncey DeVega says he is “concerned that white group interests, white experiences, white politics, white understandings of the good life, white history, white humanity, and white concerns, remain normalized by OWS” (also see Tim Wise on the Rachel Maddow Show). Still others report, “On multiple occasions, we have witnessed the exclusion of trans people from spaces and groups affiliated with Occupations…We have also encountered transphobic hate speech within the movement. This must not be allowed to continue.” Continue reading