mimetic isomorphism and social movements at work


This weekend, I visited Bates College and participated in their celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s a lovely campus and I enjoyed myself. At the beginning of my workshop, one of the Bates students gave a brief talk about the history of Black Studies at Bates. A key issue was that it was a late adopter. The protest in favor of the program used late adoption as a frame for their argument. The photo above is from a student publication and shows students pointing out that Bates isn’t following its peer group. The banner actually lists the peer organizations that have Black Studies circa 1988. Great example of how movements hook up into institutional environments.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($1!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!! 


Written by fabiorojas

January 22, 2015 at 3:24 am

Posted in education, fabio, sociology

2 Responses

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  1. One of the arguments I make in my book on student activism and curricular change is that isomorphic pressures may be less important as a factor directly precipitating change than they are as a tool utilized by actors engaging in contention within the organization. Drawing on arguments about how campuses were behind their peers was a common strategy in the campaigns I studied, and these arguments were advanced by activists rather than administrators.



    January 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm

  2. ^^ Yep, this is an explicit design in student movements like the anti-sweatshop and climate divestment movements. For the former, during my undergrad activist days, United Students Against Sweatshops waged a campaign to work towards getting a critical mass of people to sign on to a program which would focus production of university-logoed apparel in a small subset of factories with verified non-sweatshop working conditions.


    Alex Hanna

    January 22, 2015 at 3:08 pm

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