single vs. multi movement research

Last week, Brayden asserted that there is a split among movement researchers. Some still do case studies, while other are comparative.

I definitely believe that we’ve expanded. But is this really a split among researchers? I referee a lot of movement papers and the multi-movement papers are far outnumbered by single movement papers. Also, I have yet to see any systematic argument against the regular case study approach.

So, is there a split? What do you think?

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Written by fabiorojas

August 8, 2013 at 12:01 am

Posted in fabio, social movements

2 Responses

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  1. I’d disagree that multi-movement papers outnumber single movement. Pretty much every movement paper I’ve ever reviewed is single movement.

    I thought McAdam and Boudet made a good case in their recent book for what’s wrong with the study of social movements – selection on the dependent variable combined with movement-centric empirics and theory.



    August 8, 2013 at 12:50 am

  2. It’s odd. In general, we should always avoid selecting on the dependent variable. But single movement case study doesn’t mean selecting on the DV. Long as you proper variation within the case, it’s good.

    Also, I concur with the need for multi movement studies. But it isn’t that bad. Lots of well regarded movement scholarship covers mult-movements: Gamson’s strategy of social protest had data on 100 (!) movements, Jasper’s moral protest book had lots of cases, Francesca Polletta’s work had four comparisons. Amy Binder compared two big movements, etc.

    This is really a non-problem.



    August 8, 2013 at 2:05 am

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