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Comparative perspectives on social movements: Political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and cultural framingsby Doug Mcadam Mayer N. Zald John D. Mccarthy
Social movements such as environmentalism, feminism, nationalism, and the anti-immigration movement figure prominently in the modern world. Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements examines social movements in a comparative perspective, focusing on the role of ideology and beliefs, mechanisms of mobilization, and how politics shapes the development and outcomes of movements. It includes case studies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the United States, Italy, the Netherlands, and West Germany.
The event in question is the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer campaign, or, as it was simply known at the time, the Summer Project. Spearheaded by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the project lasted less than three months, from early June until late August. During that time, better than 1,000 people, the vast majority of them white Northern college students, journeyed South to work in one of the forty-four local projects that comprised the overall campaign. While in Mississippi, the volunteers lived in communal "Freedom Houses" or were housed by local black families who refused to be intimidated by segregationist threats of violence. Their days were taken up with a variety of tasks, principally registering black voters and teaching in so-called Freedom Schools.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has ignited new questions about the relationship between democracy and equality in the United States. Are we also entering a moment in history in which the disjuncture between our principles and our institutions is cast into especially sharp relief? Do new developments--most notably the rise of extreme inequality--offer new threats to the realization of our most cherished principles? Can we build an open, democratic, and successful movement to realize our ideals? Occupy the Future offers informed and opinionated essays that address these questions. The writers--including Nobel Laureate in Economics Kenneth Arrow and bestselling authors Paul and Anne Ehrlich--lay out what our country's principles are, whether we're living up to them, and what can be done to bring our institutions into better alignment with them.
The field of social movement studies has expanded dramatically over the past three decades. But as it has done so, its focus has become increasingly narrow and 'movement-centric'. When combined with the tendency to select successful struggles for study, the conceptual and methodological conventions of the field conduce to a decidedly Ptolemaic view of social movements: one that exaggerates the frequency and causal significance of movements as a form of politics. This book reports the results of a comparative study, not of movements, but of communities earmarked for environmentally risky energy projects. In stark contrast to the central thrust of the social movement literature, the authors find that the overall level of emergent opposition to the projects has been very low, and they seek to explain that variation and the impact, if any, it had on the ultimate fate of the proposed projects.
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