Tag Archives: organizations

Ignore at Your Own Peril

The creationist movement scored another victory this month but it did not happen in Tennessee, Kansas, or Texas. No, this victory occurred in South Korea.

The country’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology adopted new textbook standards which require the removal of examples of evolution from the nation’s science books. This policy was the result of a creationist campaign waged by the Society for Textbook Revision, a group affiliated with the Korea Association for Creation Science. While not formally removing evolution from the curriculum, deleting it from the nation’s textbooks goes a long way in diminishing and marginalizing the importance of evolution as a foundation of modern biology. It also becomes that much easier for teachers to ignore and avoid the controversial topic altogether. Continue reading

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The Iraq War 10 Years Later: Are Formal Coalitions Needed for Mass Mobilization?

By  Catherine Corrigall-Brown

On February 15th, 2003, millions of people from around the world took part in a series of coordinated protests against the impending war in Iraq. Although estimates of the number of participants ranged from six to thirty million, it was, without a doubt, the single largest protest event in human history to that date (BBC News 2003). Many scholars commented that the unprecedented level of successful global coordination against the war was made possible by the work of institutional leaders cooperating in large scale coalitions (Boekkooi, Klandermans, and van Stekelenburg 2011; Corrigall-Brown and Meyer 2010).  These types of coalitions seemed indispensable for this level of mobilization.  However, the recent success of the intentionally unorganized Occupy movement challenges us to reassess the necessity of formal coalitions between organizations and ask: in what contexts are formal coalitions needed for mass mobilization and how do formal organizational coalitions shape the nature of campaigns? Continue reading

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Social Movement Organizations and Online Directories

An open yellow pages type phone book

Photo by How can I recycle this

It has long been established that social movement organizations (SMOs) adopt many business-like practices in the pursuit of social change. These practices typically include acquiring labor, capital, and talent through a competitive process. Social movement organizations will then appropriate those resources toward acquiring the attention of the public and political officials. In order to sustain such attention, professional SMOs must engage with the public through both presenting self-initiated messages and availing themselves for further messages if prompted. After a publicized demonstration concludes, a professional SMO should prepare to receive–and answer–follow-up telephone calls.

In order to acquire the commerce of potential customers and possibly divert such commerce from competitors, local businesses will traditionally provide their contact information and location in community directories. Likewise, in order to acquire the attention of the public and possibly divert such attention from competitors, SMOs may provide their contact information and location in community directories. With the global rise of communication infrastructure, such directories have grown exponentially in scale and made great strides in centralizing previously fragmented information. One’s inclusion in these vast directories is typically cheap, if not free, and extremely convenient for organizations and the broader public alike. Continue reading

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What happened to the Tea Party?

On GPS (Jan 22nd episode), Fareed Zakaria asked “what happened to the Tea Party?” suggesting that it may have disappeared. While posing the question to his guests, “The end of the Tea Party?” appeared at the bottom of the television screen. His guest, David Frum, said that the “Tea Party failed to provide an alternative to Romney,” while his other guest, Steven Rattner, proclaimed that “the Tea Party lost its mojo.”  Has the Tea Party run out of steam?

To answer this question, it is important to ask, “Whose Tea Party is it?” Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson’s recent book on the Tea Party highlights the dynamic relationship between local grassroots Tea Partiers and the movement’s elite actors and organizations.  The relationship is symbiotic, as Skocpol and Williamson discuss in their chapter titled “Mobilized Grassroots and Roving Billionaires.” The mobilization of discontent at the grassroots served as an opportunity for existing ultra-conservative elite organizations to advance their cause. At the same time, local Tea Party groups benefited from the resources of these organizations and the media attention they received.  Nonetheless, there are tensions between grassroots activists and national organizations particularly since some local Tea Partiers are suspicious of larger national elite groups and worry about losing local autonomy. Continue reading

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Call for Submissions: Special Issue of NVSQ on Associations

For those of you studying social movement organizations (or, really, pretty much any type of voluntary association), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly is assembling a special issue on Membership and Mutual Benefit Associations. It will be edited by Beth Gazley, one of my colleagues here at IU, and Mary Tschirhart at NC State. The deadline for submissions is May 25, 2012. A related (but not required) mini-conference on the topic is in the works as well for “Spring 2012” at NC State. All the details are in the call for submissions below. Happy writing! Continue reading

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