In summer 1969, astronauts landed on the moon and hippie hordes descended on Woodstock—two era-defining events that are not entirely coincidental. Neil M. Maher shows how NASA’s celestial aspirations were tethered to terrestrial concerns of the time: the civil rights struggle, the antiwar movement, environmentalism, feminism, and the culture wars.
Some of the most divisive contests shaping the quest for marriage equality occurred not on the culture-war front lines but within the ranks of LGBTQ advocates. Nathaniel Frank tells the dramatic story of how an idea that once seemed unfathomable—and for many gays and lesbians undesirable—became a legal and moral right in just half a century.
In the 1960s Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood was labeled America’s largest ghetto. But its brownstones housed a coterie of black professionals intent on bringing order and hope to the community. In telling their story Michael Woodsworth reinterprets the War on Poverty by revealing its roots in local activism and policy experiments.
During the struggle for decolonization, Frantz Fanon argued that artists who mimicked European aestheticism were “beginning at the end,” skipping the inventive phase of youth for a decadence thought more typical of Europe’s declining empires. Robert Stilling takes up Fanon’s assertion to argue that decadence became a key idea in postcolonial thought, describing both the failures of revolutionary nationalism and the assertion of new cosmopolitan ideas about poetry and art.
In Stilling’s account, anglophone postcolonial artists have reshaped modernist forms associated with the idea of art for art’s sake and often condemned as decadent. By reading decadent works by J. K. Huysmans, Walter Pater, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde alongside Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, Agha Shahid Ali, Derek Mahon, Yinka Shonibare, Wole Soyinka, and Bernardine Evaristo, Stilling shows how postcolonial artists reimagined the politics of aestheticism in the service of anticolonial critique. He also shows how fin de siècle figures such as Wilde questioned the imperial ideologies of their own era.
Like their European counterparts, postcolonial artists have had to negotiate between the imaginative demands of art and the pressure to conform to a revolutionary politics seemingly inseparable from realism. Beginning at the End argues that both groups—European decadents and postcolonial artists—maintained commitments to artifice while fostering oppositional politics. It asks that we recognize what aestheticism has contributed to politically engaged postcolonial literature. At the same time, Stilling breaks down the boundaries around decadent literature, taking it outside of Europe and emphasizing the global reach of its imaginative transgressions.
For most Americans today, Roe v. Wade concerns just one thing: the right to choose abortion. But the Supreme Court’s decision once meant much more. The justices ruled that the right to privacy encompassed the abortion decision. Grassroots activists and politicians used Roe—and popular interpretations of it—as raw material in answering much larger questions: Is there a right to privacy? For whom, and what is protected?
As Mary Ziegler demonstrates, Roe’s privacy rationale attracted a wide range of citizens demanding social changes unrelated to abortion. Movements questioning hierarchies based on sexual orientation, profession, class, gender, race, and disability drew on Roe to argue for an autonomy that would give a voice to the vulnerable. So did advocates seeking expanded patient rights and liberalized euthanasia laws. Right-leaning groups also invoked Roe’s right to choose, but with a different agenda: to attack government involvement in consumer protection, social welfare, racial justice, and other aspects of American life.
In the 1980s, seeking to unify a fragile coalition, the Republican Party popularized the idea that Roe was a symbol of judicial tyranny, discouraging anyone from relying on the decision to frame their demands. But Beyond Abortion illuminates the untapped potential of arguments that still resonate today. By recovering the diversity of responses to Roe, and the legal and cultural battles it energized, Ziegler challenges readers to come to terms with the uncomfortable fact that privacy belongs to no party or cause.
Aggressive policing and draconian sentencing have disproportionately imprisoned millions of African Americans for drug-related offenses. Michael Javen Fortner shows that in the 1970s these punitive policies toward addicts and pushers enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, angry about the chaos in their own neighborhoods.
Catharine A. MacKinnon Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress KF4758.M327 2017 | Dewey Decimal 342.730878
The miniscule motion of a butterfly’s wings can trigger a tornado half a world away, according to chaos theory. Catharine A. MacKinnon’s collected work on gender inequality—including new pieces—argues that the right seemingly minor interventions in the legal realm can have a butterfly effect that generates major social and cultural transformations.
Church and State in the City provides the first comprehensive analysis of the city’s long debate about the public interest. Historian William Issel explores the complex ways that the San Francisco Catholic Church—and its lay men and women—developed relationships with the local businesses, unions, other community groups, and city government to shape debates about how to define and implement the common good. Issel’s deeply researched narrative also sheds new light on the city’s socialists, including Communist Party activists—the most important transnational challengers of both capitalism and Catholicism during the twentieth century.
Moreover, Church and State in the City is revisionist in challenging the notion that the history of urban politics and policy can best be understood as the unfolding of a progressive, secular modernization of urban political culture. Issel shows how tussles over the public interest in San Francisco were both distinctive to the city and shaped by its American character.
In the series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett
Does talking about civic issues encourage civic participation? In his innovative book, Civic Talk, Casey Klofstad shows that our discussions about politics and current events with our friends, colleagues, and relatives—"civic talk"—has the ability to turn thought into action—from voting to volunteering in civic organizations.
Klofstad’s path breaking research is the first to find evidence of a causal relationship between the casual chatting and civic participation. He employs survey information and focus groups consisting of randomly assigned college freshman roommates to show this behavior in action. Klofstad also illustrates how civic talk varies under different circumstances and how the effects can last years into the future. Based on these findings, Klofstad contends that social context plays a central role in maintaining the strength of democracy. This conclusion cuts against the grain of previous research, which primarily focuses on individual-level determinants of civic participation, and negates social-level explanations.
Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement is a theoretical study of the dynamics of public-spirited collective action as well as a substantial study of the American civil rights movement and the local and national politics that surrounded it. In this major historical application of rational choice theory to a social movement, Dennis Chong reexamines the problem of organizing collective action by focusing on the social, psychological, and moral incentives of political activism that are often neglected by rational choice theorists. Using game theoretic concepts as well as dynamic models, he explores how rational individuals decide to participate in social movements and how these individual decisions translate into collective outcomes. In addition to applying formal modeling to the puzzling and important social phenomenon of collective action, he offers persuasive insights into the political and psychological dynamics that provoke and sustain public activism. This remarkably accessible study demonstrates how the civil rights movement succeeded against difficult odds by mobilizing community resources, resisting powerful opposition, and winning concessions from the government.
As one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population, the children of immigrants are poised to reshape the country’s political future. The massive rallies for immigration rights in 2006 and the recent push for the DREAM Act, both heavily supported by immigrant youth, signal the growing political potential of this crucial group. While many studies have explored the political participation of immigrant adults, we know comparatively little about what influences civic participation among the children of immigrants. Coming of Political Age persuasively argues that schools play a central role in integrating immigrant youth into the political system. The volume shows that the choices we make now in our educational system will have major consequences for the country’s civic health as the children of immigrants grow and mature as citizens. Coming of Political Age draws from an impressive range of data, including two large surveys of adolescents in high schools and interviews with teachers and students, to provide an insightful analysis of trends in youth participation in politics. Although the children of both immigrant and native-born parents register and vote at similar rates, the factors associated with this likelihood are very different. While parental educational levels largely explain voting behavior among children of native-born parents, this volume demonstrates that immigrant children’s own education, in particular their exposure to social studies, strongly predicts their future political participation. Learning more about civic society and putting effort into these classes may encourage an interest in politics, suggesting that the high school civics curriculum remains highly relevant in an increasingly disconnected society. Interestingly, although their schooling predicts whether children of immigrants will vote, how they identify politically depends more on family and community influences. As budget cuts force school administrators to realign academic priorities, this volume argues that any cutback to social science programs may effectively curtail the political and civic engagement of the next generation of voters. While much of the literature on immigrant assimilation focuses on family and community, Coming of Political Age argues that schools—and social science courses in particular—may be central to preparing the leaders of tomorrow. The insights and conclusions presented in this volume are essential to understand how we can encourage more participation in civic action and improve the functioning of our political system.
Candice Rai’s Democracy’s Lot is an incisive exploration of the limitations and possibilities of democratic discourse for resolving conflicts in urban communities. Rai roots her study of democratic politics and publics in a range of urban case studies focused on public art, community policing, and urban development. These studies examine the issues that erupted within an ethnically and economically diverse Chicago neighborhood over conflicting visions for a vacant lot called Wilson Yard. Tracing how residents with disparate agendas organized factions and deployed language, symbols, and other rhetorical devices in the struggle over Wilson Yard’s redevelopment and other contested public spaces, Rai demonstrates that rhetoric is not solely a tool of elite communicators, but rather a framework for understanding the agile communication strategies that are improvised in the rough-and-tumble work of democratic life.
Wilson Yard, a lot eight blocks north of Wrigley Field in Chicago’s gentrifying Uptown neighborhood, is a diverse enclave of residents enlivened by recent immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. The neighborhood’s North Broadway Street witnesses a daily multilingual hubbub of people from a wide spectrum of income levels, religions, sexual identifications, and interest groups. When a fire left the lot vacant, this divided community projected on Wilson Yard disparate and conflicting aspirations, the resolution of which not only determined the fate of this particular urban space, but also revealed the lot of democracy itself as a process of complex problem-solving. Rai’s detailed study of one block in an iconic American city brings into vivid focus the remarkable challenges that beset democratic urban populations anywhere on the globe—and how rhetoric supplies a framework to understand and resolve those challenges.
Based on exhaustive field work, Rai uses rhetorical ethnography to study competing publics, citizenship, and rhetoric in action, exploring “rhetorical invention,” the discovery or development by individuals of the resources or methods of engaging with and persuading others. She builds a case for democratic processes and behaviors based not on reflexive idealism but rather on the hard work and practice of democracy, which must address apathy, passion, conflict, and ambivalence.
During the 2016 presidential campaign millions of voters, concerned about the economic impact of illegal immigration, rallied behind the notion of a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Well into the Trump presidency, immigration endures as a hotly contested issue in United States politics.
In Dreams Derailed sociologist William A. Schwab shares the stories of immigration reform advocates and follows up on stories told in his 2013 book Right to DREAM, which argued in favor of the DREAM Act that would have provided conditional residency for undocumented youth brought to the United States as children, a version of which was later enacted by executive order and referred to as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Taking as its focal point the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Obama-era DACA protection, Dreams Derailed delves into the economic, political, and social factors that inform the public conversation about immigration, making a clear case for the many benefits of inclusive policies and the protection of undocumented youths. Schwab also takes a close look at the factors that carried Donald Trump to the White House, demonstrates how economic upheaval and the issue of immigration influenced the 2016 presidential election, analyzes current immigration laws, and suggests next steps for reform.
The Emotions of Protest
James M. Jasper University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress BF576.J387 2018 | Dewey Decimal 152.4
In Donald Trump’s America, protesting has roared back into fashion. The Women’s March, held the day after Trump’s inauguration, may have been the largest in American history, and resonated around the world. Between Trump’s tweets and the march’s popularity, it is clear that displays of anger dominate American politics once again.
There is an extensive body of research on protest, but the focus has mostly been on the calculating brain—a byproduct of structuralism and cognitive studies—and less on the feeling brain. James M. Jasper’s work changes that, as he pushes the boundaries of our present understanding of the social world. In The Emotions of Protest, Jasper lays out his argument, showing that it is impossible to separate cognition and emotion. At a minimum, he says, we cannot understand the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street or pro- and anti-Trump rallies without first studying the fears and anger, moral outrage, and patterns of hate and love that their members feel.
This is a book centered on protest, but Jasper also points toward broader paths of inquiry that have the power to transform the way social scientists picture social life and action. Through emotions, he says, we are embedded in a variety of environmental, bodily, social, moral, and temporal contexts, as we feel our way both consciously and unconsciously toward some things and away from others. Politics and collective action have always been a kind of laboratory for working out models of human action more generally, and emotions are no exception. Both hearts and minds rely on the same feelings racing through our central nervous systems. Protestors have emotions, like everyone else, but theirs are thinking hearts, not bleeding hearts. Brains can feel, and hearts can think.
Kirsten Swinth reconstructs the comprehensive vision of feminism’s second wave at a time when its principles are under renewed attack. In the struggle for equality at home and at work, it was not feminism that failed to deliver on the promise that women can have it all, but a society that balked at making the changes for which activists fought.
Scholars, politicians, and activists worldwide are finally recognizing the severity of the global environmental crisis, yet serious threats to the environmental movement remain. Anti-environmentalists dismiss the very idea of a "crisis" as a mirage. Much less obvious, however, is the more subtle threat masquerading under the mantle of environmentalism itself. It is this threat that Green Delusions addresses. Writing from the standpoint of a committed environmentalist, Martin W. Lewis contends that many of the most devoted and strident "greens," those who propose a radical environmentalism, unwittingly espouse an ill-conceived doctrine that has devastating implications for the global ecosystem. In this book he distinguishes the main variants of eco-extremism, exposes the fallacies upon which such views ultimately flounder, and demonstrates that the policies advocated by their proponents would, if enacted, result in unequivocal ecological disaster. At once polemic and prescriptive, Green Delusions is an impassioned attempt to defend the environmental movement against extremist ideas that would lead to self-defeating political strategies.
On December 7, 2011, Mark Hertsgaard participated in The National Climate Seminar, a series of webinars sponsored by Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy. The online seminars provide a forum for leading scientists, writers, and other experts to talk about critical issues regarding climate change. The series also opens a public conversation, inviting participants to ask questions and contribute their own thoughts.
Hertsgaard has spent the last two decades reporting on climate change for media outlets including The New Yorker, NPR, Time, Vanity Fair, and The Nation, where he is the environment correspondent. His lecture focused on political movements and how environmental advocates can provoke change in public attitudes and on Capitol Hill. Hertsgaard sees 2011’s Occupy movement as a sign of real hope and discussed what climate activists can learn from Occupy’s tactics.
This E-ssential is an edited version of Hertsgaard’s talk and the subsequent question and answer session. While some material has been cut and some language modified for clarity, the intention was to retain the substance of the original discussion.
The evidence is irrefutable: global warming is real. While the debate continues about just how much damage spiking temperatures will wreak, we know the threat to our homes, health, and even way of life is dire. So why isn’t America doing anything? Where is the national campaign to stop this catastrophe?
It may lie between the covers of this book. Ignition brings together some of the world’s finest thinkers and advocates to jump start the ultimate green revolution. Including celebrated writers like Bill McKibben and renowned scholars like Gus Speth, as well as young activists, the authors draw on direct experience in grassroots organization, education, law, and social leadership. Their approaches are various, from building coalitions to win political battles to rallying shareholders to change corporate behavior. But they share a belief that private fears about deadly heat waves and disastrous hurricanes can translate into powerful public action.
For anyone who feels compelled to do more than change their light bulbs or occasionally carpool, Ignition is an essential guide. Combining incisive essays with success stories and web resources, the book helps readers answer the most important question we all face: “What can I do?”
In the early 2000s, the United States and Canada implemented new campaign finance laws restricting the ability of interest groups to make political contributions and to engage in political advertising. Whereas both nations' legislative reforms sought to reduce the role of interest groups in campaigns, these laws have had opposite results in the two nations. In the United States, interest groups remained influential by developing broad coalitions aimed at mobilizing individual voters and contributors. In Canada, interest groups largely withdrew from election campaigns, and, thus, important voices in elections have gone silent. Robert G. Boatright explains such disparate results by placing campaign finance reforms in the context of ongoing political and technological changes.
Robert G. Boatright is Associate Professor of Political Science at Clark University.
In 1960, when Japan revised the postwar treaty that allows a U.S. military presence in Japan, the popular backlash changed the evolution of Japan’s politics and culture, and its global role. Nick Kapur’s analysis helps resolve Japan’s essential paradox as being innovative yet regressive, flexible yet resistant, imaginative yet wedded to tradition.
In giving President Obama a record level of support (75 percent) and reaching a watershed 10 percent of the voting population, Latinos proved to be decisive in the 2012 election outcome—an unprecedented mark of influence for this segment of the wider electorate. This shift also signaled a radical reenvisioning of mobilization strategies by both parties and created a sea change in the way political organizations conduct outreach and engagement efforts. In this groundbreaking volume, experts in Latino politics ask: What is the scope of Latino voter influence, where does this electorate have the greatest impact, and what issues matter to them most? They examine a key national discussion—immigration reform—as it relates to voter behavior, and also explore the influence of Latinos within key states, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, and Florida. While some of these states have traditionally had strong Latino voting blocs, in others Latinos are just emerging as major players electorally. The book also discusses the extent to which Latinos were mobilized during the 2012 campaign and analyzes election outcomes using new tools created by Latino Decisions. A blend of rigorous data analysis and organizational commentary, the book offers a variety of perspectives on the past, present, and future of the Latino electorate.
Mic check! Mic check! Lacking amplification in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street protestors addressed one another by repeating and echoing speeches throughout the crowd. In Occupy, W. J. T. Mitchell, Bernard E. Harcourt, and Michael Taussig take the protestors’ lead and perform their own resonant call-and-response, playing off of each other in three essays that engage the extraordinary Occupy movement that has swept across the world, examining everything from self-immolations in the Middle East to the G8 crackdown in Chicago to the many protest signs still visible worldwide.
“You break through the screen like Alice in Wonderland,” Taussig writes in the opening essay, “and now you can’t leave or do without it.” Following Taussig’s artful blend of participatory ethnography and poetic meditation on Zuccotti Park, political and legal scholar Harcourt examines the crucial difference between civil and political disobedience. He shows how by effecting the latter—by rejecting the very discourse and strategy of politics—Occupy Wall Street protestors enacted a radical new form of protest. Finally, media critic and theorist Mitchell surveys the global circulation of Occupy images across mass and social media and looks at contemporary works by artists such as Antony Gormley and how they engage the body politic, ultimately examining the use of empty space itself as a revolutionary monument.
Occupy stands not as a primer on or an authoritative account of 2011’s revolutions, but as a snapshot, a second draft of history, beyond journalism and the polemics of the moment—an occupation itself.
In 1920 the League of Nations Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs captured eight decades of political turmoil over opium trafficking. Steffen Rimner shows how local protests crossed imperial, national, and colonial boundaries to harness naming and shaming in international politics—a deterrent that continues today.
First the press became the media, and now the media have become the Imperial Media—or have they? In this timely and comprehensive analysis, Michael Robinson and Margaret Sheehan examine how the news media behaved (or misbehaved) in covering the 1980 presidential campaign. Using the media's own traditional standards as a guide, Robinson and Sheehan measure the level of objectivity, fairness, seriousness, and criticism displayed by CBS News and United Press International between January and December of 1980. Drawing on statistical analyses of almost 6,000 news stories and dozens of interviews with writers and reporters, the authors reach convincing and sometimes surprising conclusions. They demonstrate, for example, that both CBS and UPI strictly avoided subjective assessments of the candidates and their positions on the issues. Both gave the major parties remarkably equal access. But the media seem to give more negative coverage to front-runners, treating serious challengers less harshly. Perhaps the most surprising finding is that networks were not more superficial than print; CBS attended to the issues at least as often as UPI. Robinson and Sheehan find television coverage more subjective, more volatile, and substantially more negative than traditional print. But CBS behaved neither imperially nor irresponsibly in Campaign '80. The networks did, however, emulate the more highly charged journalism of the eastern elite print press. By blending the quantitative techniques of social science and the tools of Washington-based journalism, Robinson and Sheehan have produced a book that will be essential reading for students and practitioners of politics, public opinion research, journalism, and communications. Lively and readable, it should also appeal to anyone interested in the role of the news media in contemporary politics.
Given their tendency to splinter over tactics and goals, social movements are rarely unified. Following the modern Western animal rights movement over thirty years, Corey Lee Wrennapplies the sociological theory of Bourdieu, Goffman, Weber, and contemporary social movement researchers to examine structural conditions in the animal rights movement, facilitating factionalism in today’s era of professionalized advocacy.
Modern social movements are dominated by bureaucratically oriented nonprofits, a special arrangement that creates tension between activists and movement elites who compete for success in a corporate political arena. Piecemeal Protest examines the impact of nonprofitization on factionalism and a movement’s ability to mobilize, resonate, and succeed. Wrenn’sexhaustive analysis of archival movement literature and exclusive interviews with movement leaders illustrate how entities with greater symbolic capital are positioned to monopolize claims-making, disempower competitors, and replicate hegemonic power, eroding democratic access to dialogue and decision-making essential for movement health.
Piecemeal Protest examines social movement behavior shaped by capitalist ideologies and state interests. As power concentrates to the disadvantage of marginalized factions in the modern social movement arena, Piecemeal Protest shines light on processes of factionalism and considers how, in the age of nonprofits, intra-movement inequality could stifle social progress.
In this classic work of sociology, Doug McAdam presents a political-process model that explains the rise and decline of the black protest movement in the United States. Moving from theoretical concerns to empirical analysis, he focuses on the crucial role of three institutions that foster protest: black churches, black colleges, and Southern chapters of the NAACP. He concludes that political opportunities, a heightened sense of political efficacy, and the development of these three institutions played a central role in shaping the civil rights movement. In his new introduction, McAdam revisits the civil rights struggle in light of recent scholarship on social movement origins and collective action.
"[A] first-rate analytical demonstration that the civil rights movement was the culmination of a long process of building institutions in the black community."—Raymond Wolters, Journal of American History
"A fresh, rich, and dynamic model to explain the rise and decline of the black insurgency movement in the United States."—James W. Lamare, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
The Great Recession not only shook Americans’ economic faith but also prompted powerful critiques of economic institutions. This timely book explores three movements that gathered force after 2008: the rise of the benefit corporation, which requires social responsibility and eschews share price as the best metric for success; the emergence of a new group, Slow Money, that fosters peer-to-peer investing; and the 2011 Wisconsin protests against a bill restricting the union rights of state workers.
Each case shows how the concrete actions of a group of citizens can prompt us to reflect on what is needed for a just and sustainable economic system. In one case, activists raised questions about the responsibilities of business, in the second about the significance of local economies, and in the third about the contributions of the public sector. Through these movements, Jane L. Collins maps a set of cultural conversations about the types of investments and activities that contribute to the health of the economy. Compelling and persuasive, The Politics of Value offers a new framework for viewing economic value, one grounded in thoughtful assessment of the social division of labor and the relationship of the state and the market to civil society.
The coalition known as the National Council of Women’s Organizations no longer exists today, but the history and the lessons learned from the NCWO’s activism remain as important as ever—perhaps even more so in this age of Trump. Laura Woliver spent fifteen years doing fieldwork and conducting research and interviews to understand how the NCWO coalition group functioned. The result is her impressive study, Push Back, Move Forward.
Woliver explores the foundational work of the NCWO and member groups to promote women’s economic security, citizen status, and political rights. She investigates women’s access to previously “male only” organizations, such as private clubs; the increase in voter participation generated by measures such as early voting; advocacy campaigns for such benefit programs as Social Security and the Affordable Care Act; and global human and women’s rights activism. In addition, she examines the accomplishments of women of color, both alongside and within the NCWO, who orient their politics toward achieving justice and attaining rights.
Push Back, Move Forward artfully documents this important group’s activities while also gleaning larger lessons about coalition organizations.
This is the story of a revolution without fanfare, a hidden struggle for party reform that produced a new era in national politics. From this struggle emerged the greatest deliberately planned and centrally imposed change in the mechanics of delegate selection, and hence presidential nomination, in all of American history. The success of this revolution heralded the arrival of new political coalitions that would alter the very character of presidential politics, from campaign organization to grass-roots participation. The battle for reform raged within the Democratic party from 1968 to 1972, although it would quickly affect the Republican party as well. It was intense, intricate—and nearly invisible. Yet its chronicle is essential background for political practitioners, professional commentators, and interested citizens alike. And it is the basis for understanding the subsequent course of national politics and the current shape of presidential politics. Quiet Revolution provides the first definitive account of this struggle for reform, an account that is at once modern political history and an illuminating analysis of contemporary American politics. Based on candid interviews with numerous key participants and on extensive archival material, this compelling narrative offers the fascination of political maneuvers closely observed, the drama of momentous events unfolding, and the challenge of a new politics newly interpreted.
Fake news, alternative facts, post truth—terms all too familiar to anyone in U.S. political culture and concepts at the core of Dana L. Cloud’s new book, Reality Bites, which explores truth claims in contemporary political rhetoric in the face of widespread skepticism regarding the utility, ethics, and viability of an empirical standard for political truths. Cloud observes how appeals to truth often assume—mistakenly—that it is a matter of simple representation of facts. However, since neither fact-checking nor “truthiness” can respond meaningfully to this problem, she argues for a rhetorical realism—the idea that communicators can bring knowledge from particular perspectives and experiences into the domain of common sense.
Through a series of case studies—including the PolitiFact fact-checking project, the Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts” scandal, the Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden cases, Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos, the rhetoric of Thomas Paine and the American Revolution, and the Black Lives Matter movement—Cloud advocates for the usefulness of narrative, myth, embodiment, affect, and spectacle in creating accountability in contemporary U.S. political rhetoric. If dominant reality “bites”—in being oppressive and exploitative—it is time, Cloud argues, for those in the reality-based community to “bite back.”
In this counterintuitive study of digital democracy, Jen Schradie shows how the web has become another weapon in the arsenal of the powerful, and a potent weapon for conservative activists. Rather than leveling the playing field, the internet has tilted it in favor of the Right, where only the most sophisticated and well-funded players can compete.
Rhyming Hope and History exposes the frayed relations between activism and social movement scholarship and examines the causes and consequences of this disconnect between theory and practice. Both scholars and activists explore solutions, weighing the promise and perils of engaged theory and the barriers to meaningful collaboration. This volume asserts that partnerships among scholars and activists benefit both academic inquiry and social change efforts.
Contributors: Kevin M. Carragee, Suffolk U; Catherine Corrigall-Brown, U of California, Irvine; Myra Marx Ferree, U of Wisconsin, Madison; Richard Flacks, U of California, Santa Barbara; Adria D. Goodson; Richard Healy and Sandra Hinson, Grassroots Policy Project; David Meyer, U of California, Irvine; Cynthia Peters, Worker Education Program of the Service Employees International Union, Local 2020; Barbara Risman, North Carolina State U; Robert J. S. Ross, Clark U; Leila J. Rupp, U of California, Santa Barbara; Cassie Schwerner, Schott Foundation; Valerie Sperling, Clark U; David A. Snow, U of California, Irvine; Verta Taylor, U of California, Santa Barbara.
David Croteau is formerly associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University. William Hoynes is professor of sociology and director of media studies at Vassar College. Charlotte Ryan is codirector of the Media Research and Action Project at Boston College. William A. Gamson is professor of sociology at Boston College.
Few relationships have proved more pivotal in changing the course of American politics than those between presidents and social movements. For all their differences, both presidents and social movements are driven by a desire to recast the political system, often pursuing rival agendas that set them on a collision course. Even when their interests converge, these two actors often compete to control the timing and conditions of political change. During rare historical moments, however, presidents and social movements forged partnerships that profoundly recast American politics.
Rivalry and Reform explores the relationship between presidents and social movements throughout history and into the present day, revealing the patterns that emerge from the epic battles and uneasy partnerships that have profoundly shaped reform. Through a series of case studies, including Abraham Lincoln and abolitionism, Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights movement, and Ronald Reagan and the religious right, Sidney M. Milkis and Daniel J. Tichenor argue persuasively that major political change usually reflects neither a top-down nor bottom-up strategy but a crucial interplay between the two. Savvy leaders, the authors show, use social movements to support their policy goals. At the same time, the most successful social movements target the president as either a source of powerful support or the center of opposition. The book concludes with a consideration of Barack Obama’s approach to contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter, United We Dream, and Marriage Equality.
On one side are the policy makers, on the other, the movements and organizations that challenge public policy. Where and how the two meet is a critical juncture in the democratic process. Bringing together a distinguished group of scholars from several different disciplines in the social sciences, Routing the Opposition connects the substance and content of policies with the movements that create and respond to them. Local antidrug coalitions, the organic agriculture movement, worker's compensation reforms, veterans' programs, prison reform, immigrants' rights campaigns: these are some of the diverse areas in which the contributors to this volume examine the linkages between the practices, organization, and institutional logic of public policy and social movements. The authors engage such topics as the process of involving multiple stakeholders in policy making, the impact of overlapping social networks on policy and social movement development, and the influence of policy design on the increase or decline of civic involvement. Capturing both successes and failures, Routing the Opposition focuses on strategies and outcomes that both transform social movements and guide the development of public policy, revealing as well what happens when the very different organizational cultures of activists and public policy makers interact.
Winner of the Doris Graber Award, American Political Science Association, 2013
Democracy is, by its very nature, often rude. But there are limits to how uncivil we should be. In the 2010 edition of Rude Democracy, Susan Herbst explored the ways we discuss public policy, how we treat each other as we do, and how we can create a more civil national culture. She used the examples of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama to illustrate her case. She also examined how young people come to form their own attitudes about civility and political argument. In a new preface for this 2020 paperback edition, the author connects her book to our current highly contentious politics and what it means for the future of democratic argument.
On February 1, 1960, four African American college students entered the Woolworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and sat down at the lunch counter. This lunch counter, like most in the American South, refused to serve black customers. The four students remained in their seats until the store closed. In the following days, they returned, joined by growing numbers of fellow students. These “sit-in” demonstrations soon spread to other southern cities, drawing in thousands of students and coalescing into a protest movement that would transform the struggle for racial equality.
The Sit-Ins tells the story of the student lunch counter protests and the national debate they sparked over the meaning of the constitutional right of all Americans to equal protection of the law. Christopher W. Schmidt describes how behind the now-iconic scenes of African American college students sitting in quiet defiance at “whites only” lunch counters lies a series of underappreciated legal dilemmas—about the meaning of the Constitution, the capacity of legal institutions to remedy different forms of injustice, and the relationship between legal reform and social change. The students’ actions initiated a national conversation over whether the Constitution’s equal protection clause extended to the activities of private businesses that served the general public. The courts, the traditional focal point for accounts of constitutional disputes, played an important but ultimately secondary role in this story. The great victory of the sit-in movement came not in the Supreme Court, but in Congress, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that recognized the right African American students had claimed for themselves four years earlier. The Sit-Ins invites a broader understanding of how Americans contest and construct the meaning of their Constitution.
The 2010 Pennsylvania Senate election provided high drama from the earliest days of its primary campaigns right through Election Day. After long-time incumbent Arlen Specter was eliminated, the race boiled down to two fresh faces—Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak. Their battle constitutes a microcosm of the political divide that characterizes contemporary American politics.
Veteran writer Hal Gullan obtained special access to the Toomey campaign early on. Toomey's Triumph offers both that inside look and a Philadelphian's reflections of a riveting election. Gullan's astute month-by-month narrative distills the events of the year-long battles through the high drama and the day-to-day of grassroots organizing and campaigning. He describes how the candidates appear, what they say, and how the media pundits respond to their various gambits. He provides wry observations on the efficacy of each candidate's campaign ads and strategies, and he analyzes the up-and-down polls.
Toomey's Triumph provides an engaging chronicle of a critical campaign.
As America’s most ethnically diverse foreign-born population, Asian Americans can puzzle political observers. This volume’s multidisciplinary team of contributors employ a variety of methodologies—including quantitative, ethnographic, and historical—to illustrate how transnational ties between the U.S. and Asia have shaped, and are increasingly defining, Asian American politics in our multicultural society.
Original essays by U.S.- and Asian-based scholars discuss Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities from Boston to Honolulu. The volume also shows how the grassroots activism of America’s “newest minority” both reflects and is instrumental in broader processes of political change throughout the Pacific. Addressing the call for more global approaches to racial and ethnic politics, contributors describe how Asian immigrants strategically navigate the hurdles to domestic incorporation and equality by turning their political sights and energies toward Asia. These essays convincingly demonstrate that Asian American political participation in the U.S. does not consist simply of domestic actions with domestic ends.
The politics of gun policy in the United States are dramatic. Against the backdrop of daily gun violence—which claims more than 33,000 lives per year—gun control groups push for stronger regulations, while gun rights groups resist infringements upon their Second Amendment rights. To illuminate the dynamics of this polarized debate, Warped Narratives examines how and why interest groups frame the gun violence problem in particular ways, exploring the implication of groups’ framing choices for policymaking and politics. Melissa K. Merry argues that the gun policy arena is warped, and that both gun control and gun rights organizations contribute to the distortion of the issue by focusing on atypical characters and settings in their policy narratives. Gun control groups emphasize white victims, child victims, and mass shootings in suburban locales, while gun rights groups focus on self-defense shootings, highlighting threats to “law-abiding” gun owners. In reality, most gun deaths are the result of suicide. Homicides occur disproportionately in urban areas, mainly affecting racial minorities. While warping makes political sense in the short term, it may lead to negative, long-term consequences, including constraints on groups’ ability to build broad-based coalitions and to reduce prospects for compromise. To demonstrate warping, Merry analyzes nearly 67,000 communications by 15 national gun policy groups between 2000 and 2017 collected from blogs, emails, Facebook posts, and press releases. This book is the first to systematically assess the role of race in gun policy groups’ framing and offers the most comprehensive examination to date of interest groups’ presentation of this issue.
In an adult-dominated society, teenagers are often shut out of participation in politics. We Fight to Win offers a compelling account of young people's attempts to get involved in community politics, and documents the battles waged to form youth movements and create social change in schools and neighborhoods.
Hava Rachel Gordon compares the struggles and successes of two very different youth movements: a mostly white, middle-class youth activist network in Portland, Oregon, and a working-class network of minority youth in Oakland, California. She examines how these young activists navigate schools, families, community organizations, and the mainstream media, and employ a variety of strategies to make their voices heard on some of today's most pressing issuesùwar, school funding, the environmental crisis, the prison industrial complex, standardized testing, corporate accountability, and educational reform. We Fight to Win is one of the first books to focus on adolescence and political action and deftly explore the ways that the politics of youth activism are structured by age inequality as well as race, class, and gender.
"A must-read for scholars across a broad sweep of disciplines. Laurel Weldon weaves together skillfully the theoretical strands of gender equality policy, intersectionality, social movements, and representation in a multimethod/level comparative study that unequivocally places women's movements at the center of our understanding of democracy and social change."
---Amy G. Mazur, Washington State University
"Laurel Weldon's When Protest Makes Policy expands and enriches our understanding of representation by stressing social movements as a primary avenue for the representation of marginalized groups. With powerful theory backed by persuasive analysis, it is a must-read for anyone interested in democracy and the representation of marginalized groups."
---Pamela Paxton, University of Texas at Austin
"This is a bold and exciting book. There are many fine scholars who look at women's movements, political theorists who make claims about democracy, and policy analysts who do longitudinal treatments or cross-sectional evaluations of various policies. I know of no one, aside from Weldon, who is comfortable with all three of these roles."
---David Meyer, University of California, Irvine
What role do social movements play in a democracy? Political theorist S. Laurel Weldon demonstrates that social movements provide a hitherto unrecognized form of democratic representation, and thus offer a significant potential for deepening democracy and overcoming social conflict.
Through a series of case studies of movements conducted by women, women of color, and workers in the United States and other member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Weldon examines processes of representation at the local, state, and national levels. She concludes that, for systematically disadvantaged groups, social movements can be as important---sometimes more important---for the effective articulation of a group perspective as political parties, interest groups, or the physical presence of group members in legislatures.
When Protest Makes Policy contributes to the emerging scholarship on civil society as well as the traditional scholarship on representation. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with advancing social cohesion and deepening democracy and inclusion as well as those concerned with advancing equality for women, ethnic and racial minorities, the working class, and poor people.
S. Laurel Weldon is Professor of Political Science at Purdue University.
Looking beyond the national leadership of the suffrage movement, Susan Ware tells the inspiring story of nineteen dedicated women who carried the banner for the vote into communities across the nation, out of the spotlight, protesting, petitioning, and demonstrating for women’s right to become full citizens.
Why We Lost the ERA
Jane J. Mansbridge University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress HQ1236.5.U6M37 1986 | Dewey Decimal 305.420973
In this work, Jane Mansbridge's fresh insights uncover a significant democratic irony - the development of self-defeating, contradictory forces within a democratic movement in the course of its struggle to promote its version of the common good. Mansbridge's book is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in democratic theory and practice.
In Women's Activism and Feminist Agency in Mozambique and Nicaragua, Jennifer Leigh Disney investigates the contours of women’s emancipation outside the framework of liberal democracy and a market economy. She interviews 146 women and men in the two countries to explore the comparative contribution of women’s participation in subsistence and informal economies, political parties and civil society organizations. She also discusses military struggles against colonialism and imperialism in fostering feminist agency to provide a fascinating look at how each movement evolved and how it changed in a post-revolutionary climate.