protest matters, but it’s complicated
Over at Aeon Magazine, I have a short article on the question of whether protest works. Discussion of Gamson ’75 and more. A short clip:
Protest seems to be most effective when it is coupled with two things. First, there often needs to be an organized side of the movement. Movements succeed when some leader, or organization, appears who can help rally support, collect money, and make connections with insiders. While protest may jump start the process of social change, it still needs to be directed through institutions such as legislatures, courts, the educational system, and the for-profit sector. Outsiders need insiders, leadership makes the connection. Second, movements that succeed often have clearly stated goals that are consistent with our broader culture. There is a reason for the Civil Rights Movement’s success. The Civil Rights leadership worked tirelessly to connect Black equality with our Constitution and the desire to be a nation of free people. Thus, protest matters, but it has to work with other strategies and be suited to the problem.
Check it out.