dangerous social movement research

AP Photo of a protester-police confrontation on Sept 1 in St. Paul.

Michael Heaney and I are quite lucky to have Inside Higher Education discuss our research on movement politics. The article reports that Michael is actually heading up two projects. One, with me, investigates mobilization of street demonstrators. A second project, done by a team of political scientists, is on convention delegates:

For example, Heaney said, “there’s a lot of reason to believe there’s a lot of similarities between the [Democratic] delegates and [antiwar] protesters at the convention” in Denver. Both groups want to end the war in Iraq, pass universal health care and get George W. Bush out of office, he pointed out. But the groups have different views on how to effect institutional change, views that are themselves malleable and could evolve over the course of the fall campaign in a way Heaney and his colleagues hope to capture.

The article also reports that Michael was inadvertently caught up in the action on Monday afternoon:

As Heaney discovered on Monday — when some of the protesters turned to vandalism and scuffled with police, resulting in almost 300 arrests — keeping a scholarly ear to the street can pose occupational hazards.

“Unfortunately I was there for that. I was actually pepper-gassed,” he said matter of factly. “I was nowhere near any police … or anything like that, and this big gust of wind came along and just hit me in the face with pepper spray. They were using these large gas canisters to dispense the pepper spray, and apparently they were just dispensing large amounts of it….”

It was, he added, a “pretty hard batch.”

For previous “ethnographic blogging,” click here. For papers, published and in progress, click here. Click here for “social movements: the movie.”


Written by fabiorojas

September 4, 2008 at 12:05 am

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  1. […] what happened to Fabio Rojas’s (of OrgTheory fame) colleague Michael Heaney while doing research in the field on the mobilization of street […]


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