By Nancy Whittier
If you are looking to stay current on the best new books in the field of social movements, this should be a helpful post. Courtesy of the recent chair of the CBSM section of ASA, below you will find summaries of the books selected for the Charles Tilly Award and for honorable mention, as well as a full list of the award candidates. Many thanks to Nancy and the rest of the selection committee for sharing this with the Mobilizing Ideas audience.
Twenty-nine eligible books were submitted for the award, which was for a book published in 2012. Committee members were Nancy Whittier, Deana Rohlinger, Paul Almeida, and Drew Halfmann (committee chair). As the list below shows, we had an extremely strong field.
The prize went to Kathleen Blee for Democracy in the Making: How Activist Groups Form (Oxford). This is a remarkably strong book across the board: in theory, methodology, and contribution to the field. Blee’s methods and sample are unique and impressive, studying over 60 Pittsburgh groups addressing a wide range of issues from their first meeting through their development over time. As a result, Blee is able to analyze movement groups’ emergence, their process, what doesn’t happen, and their different trajectories over time. Blee shows that early choices shape groups’ paths and their success, survival, or demise. She looks closely at the turning points where decisions are made about which paths to take, the longer-term consequences of these decisions, and the ways that they can be modified or overturned and groups’ paths thus changed. Along the way, Blee engages with most of the major concepts in the field, like organization, internal structure and decision making, the influence of external context, frames, collective identities, and more, deepening them in ways too many to describe. Continue reading