Tag Archives: targets

Informing Activists: What are the best targets for my cause?

Tom Maher

What are the best targets for my cause?

Recommended Readings:


Van Dyke, N., Soule, S. A., & Taylor, V. A. 2004. The targets of social movements: Beyond a focus on the state. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change 25(1), 27-51.


Walker, Edward T., Andrew W. Martin, and John D. McCarthy. 2008. “Confronting the State, the Corporation, and the Academy: The Influence of Institutional Targets on Social Movement Repertoires.” American Journal of Sociology 114(1):35-76.


Ring-Ramirez, Misty, Heidi Reynolds-Stenson, and Jennifer Earl. 2014. “Culturally Constrained Contention: Mapping the Meaning Structure of the Repertoire of Contention.” Mobilization 19(4): 489-504.

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.

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Informing Activists

Media Bias, Media Endogeneity

By Charles Seguin

Citizens of large nation-states generally receive most of their information on social movements through news media. Accordingly, the media are one of the central institutions targeted by social movements. In attempting to understand movement effects on media, movement scholars have sometimes, but certainly not always, conceptualized media-movement interactions within what I would call the “bias model.” The idea behind the bias model is that media attention and framing are subject to numerous organizational, cultural, political, and institutional selection processes which filter movement messages and events to determine which will receive coverage and how they will be framed. That is, some population of movement events and messages exist in the world, and are distorted in news media representations through differential media selection and interpretation. Within the bias model, the media nicely fits the analogy of a movement target—a wholly separate entity at which a movement takes aim. While we’ve learned a lot from the bias model, it is incomplete, and often misleading. The media-movement relationship is endogenous for two reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under Essay Dialogues, Protestors and their Targets

Tinkering [human rights, contemporary slaveholders, protest drones]

What fun to be asked about one’s own research! After finishing a PhD in sociology (Notre Dame, 2013) I took a job at a School of Public Policy in Europe. Best move ever. In what follows I sketch the three main veins of inquiry that have kept me busy recently.

A human rights approach to the contemporary anti-slavery movement
At present I am engaged in three primary lines of inquiry. The first involves the development of a human rights approach to contemporary slavery and human trafficking. A decade in the contemporary anti-slavery movement convinced me that current thinking within the movement was driven by Christian evangelical’s conceptualizations of salvation (here). But what’s the positive alternative? I initially sketched this out with one of my mentors (Alison Brysk) in a co-edited volume—From Human Trafficking to Human Rights (Penn 2012, here)—and developed more fully in two journal articles. Continue reading

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Filed under Emerging Stars in Social Movement Research, Essay Dialogues

Looking for Love (and Other Emotions) in All the Right Places: Thinking Broadly about Emotions in Social Movements

By Nancy Whittier

Is studying emotions in social movements a distinct agenda from studying movements’ interactions with institutions or the state?  Are some movements oriented toward emotional change and others toward policy change? Are movements such as the one against child sexual abuse, which I have studied, fundamentally different from those that stick to topics where emotions are less apparent, or those that focus narrowly on policy demands?  My own work, and that of others, suggests not.[i]   Continue reading

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Filed under Emotion in Motion, Essay Dialogues

Beyond Religion as Resource

By Grace Yukich

This past June, President Obama took executive action to defer the deportation of “Dreamers”: undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, are under 30, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, and have no criminal records. The policy represents a small but important victory for immigrant rights activists, many of whom are religious. Their religiosity is worth noting for two reasons. First, in an age when the dominant public image of religion is often politically and theologically conservative, this serves as a reminder that “progressive religion” is not an oxymoron. Second, increasing immigration to the U.S. is transforming American religion, altering dominant traditions through the integration of new immigrants and diversifying the general landscape through the growth of religious traditions like Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Some estimates suggest that 40 percent of Catholics in the U.S. are now Mexican or Latin American immigrants.1 This religious context forces even majority-native-born religious groups to recognize the suffering of immigrants in their midst, evidenced by efforts like the Catholic Justice for Immigrants campaign. Continue reading


Filed under Essay Dialogues, Religion and Activism