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party in the street: discussion at popular resistance

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My friend and co-author Michael Heaney has a post about our work at Popular Resistance, a web site dedicated to contemporary activism. A key quote:

So what would genuine independence from a political party look like for a social movement?  My view is that independence means choosing allies regardless of their partisan affiliation.  An independent movement should have allies that are Democrats, Republicans, members of other political parties, and nonpartisans.  Independence means educating activists that parties are neither the enemy nor the savior; rather, they are one more political structure that can be used for good or ill.  An independent movement should embrace working with allies on one issue if there is agreement on one issue, even if there is disagreement on a multitude of other issues.   Independent movements should advance the best arguments supporting their cause, regardless of whether these arguments are typically classified as conservative, liberal, socialist, or using some other label.  They should socialize their supporters to learn about and care about their cause above achieving electoral victories.  Elections are a potential means of achieving social and political change, but they are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for doing so.

I concur. There needs to be a discussion within modern movements about learning to work cross-party and often independently from parties. Read the whole piece.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!! 

Written by fabiorojas

February 16, 2015 at 4:58 am

party in the street: social identities and policy continuity

One of the issues that we draw attention to in Party in the Street is that there was a great deal of continuity in war policy between the Bush and Obama administrations. This is an example of a broader theme in American government: domestic disputes are not brought into foreign policy. The phrase for this is “politics ends at the water’s edge.”

The water’s edge idea has important implications for social movements, especially progressive movements that are often participating in anti-war activism. Normally, we think of movements responding to some sort of stark contrast in policy and they expect different political actors to have distinct views on policy. For example, it is pretty safe to say that Democrats and Republican leaders promote very different abortion policies.

In contrast, the “water’s edge” theory suggests that there will be a fair amount of continuity between administrations in terms of foreign policy. It doesn’t mean total similarity, but a great deal of overlap. For example, the Iraq withdrawal was initially negotiated by the Bush administration and then carried out by Obama’s administration. Similarly, both the Bush and Obama administrations, at various times, sought to extend US involvement in Iraq. Did both administrations have identical policy? Definitely not, but there is a lot of continuity and overlap.

If you believe that movements closely follow policy, then the overall path of the antiwar movement might seem puzzling. When Bush surged, the movement began its decline. As Obama sought extensions in Iraq, there was little protest. Antiwar activists did not focus on the main instrument of withdrawal, the Status of Forces Agreement, initiated by Bush. The War on Terror involved over 100,000 troops “on the ground” from 2003 till about 2010.

We argue in Party in the Street that the overall growth and decline of the antiwar movement can be better explained by the tension of activism and partisanship instead of policy shifts. Early on, the antiwar movement’s identity did not conflict with its ally, the Democratic Party. So the movement could draw partisans and grow during the early stages of the Iraq War. As elections changed the landscape, partisanship asserted itself and the movement ebbed. And that is how we get a declining movement as the US intervention in Iraq is sustained, then incrementally reduced during a multi-year withdrawal phase and the vastly expanded in Afghanistan.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!! 

Written by fabiorojas

February 6, 2015 at 12:01 am

grad skool rulz is free… but there’s a catch

If you buy a copy of Party in the Street and email proof this semester, I will send you a free copy of Grad Skool Rulz. The kindle edition is already out! While you are getting up to date on the hottest social movement research, why not get a free copy of the best grad skool advice book on the market?

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!! 

Written by fabiorojas

February 3, 2015 at 12:28 am

party in the street: by the numbers

328 pages

196 research assistants

11 years

3 children born

8,638 street surveys

66 debate transcripts

20 protest waves

150 proposed pieces of legislation

29 diagrams

11 pictures

2 authors

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

Written by fabiorojas

January 29, 2015 at 12:10 am

party in the street: the first podcast

New Books in Political Science has dedicated their first podcast of the year to Party in the Street:

Heaney and Rojas take on the interdisciplinary challenge at the heart of studies of interest groups and social movements, two related subjects that political scientists and sociologists have tended to examine separately from one another. What results is a needed effort to synthesize the two social science traditions and advance a common interest in studying how people come together to influence policy outcomes. The particular focus of this work is on how the antiwar movement that grew in the mid-2000s interacted with the Democratic Party. They ponder a paradox of activism that just as activists are most successful – in this case supporting a new Democrat controlled House and Senate in 2006 – the energy and dynamism of the movement often fades away. Heaney and Rojas look to the relationship between antiwar activists and the Democratic Party for answers. They find that in a highly polarized partisan environment, party affiliations come first and social movement affiliations second, thereby slowing the momentum movements generate in their ascendency.

Please click on the link for the podcast.

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

Written by fabiorojas

January 12, 2015 at 12:01 am

review of missing class by betsy leondar-wright

Managment INK, the blog about management research links to my recent book of review of Missing Class by Betsy Leondar-Wright. The book is about the cultural differences between working class, middle class and wealthy activists. Overall, I liked it. One thing that I would like to see if more of a focus on group outcomes, similar to Kathleen Blee’s work. Did the cultural differences make a difference in mobilizing? But aside from that point, it’s a good review of how mobilizing occurs in the North American left. Recommended.

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

Written by fabiorojas

January 10, 2015 at 12:01 am

book symposium on the emergence of organizations and markets

At the ASA meetings last August I was lucky to participate in an authors-meet-critics session for John Padgett’s and Woody Powell’s new book, The Emergence of Organizations and Markets. That vibrant session has now been published as a book symposium in the political sociology section newsletter, which you can download here.  My comments are a bit critical at points. I’m not convinced that the concept of “autocatalysis” is especially useful. John’s and Woody’s responses are definitely worth reading though. As you’d expect, they rise to the occasion and give a convincing defense of their perspective.

Being a part of the symposium has got me thinking more about different modes of theorizing and making way for the role of humans and actor motivation in sociological theory. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this in the near future.

 

Written by brayden king

January 6, 2015 at 1:51 am

Posted in books, brayden

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