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Theories of collective action have undergone a number of paradigm shifts, from "mass behavior" to "resource mobilization," "political process," and "new social movements." Debates have centered on the applicability of these frameworks in diverse settings, on the periodization of collective action, on the divisive or unifying impact of identity politics, and on the appropriateness of political engagement by researchers. Transnational activist networks are developing new protest repertoires that challenge anthropologists and other scholars to rethink conventional approaches to social movements.
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Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 2001. 30:285–317
° 2001 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Changing Paradigms
and Forms of Politics
Marc Edelman
Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York,
New York 10021; e-mail:
Key Words collective action, protest, resistance, civil society, globalization
Abstract Theories of collective action have undergone a number of paradigm
shifts, from “mass behavior” to “resource mobilization,” “political process,” and “new
social movements.” Debates have centered on the applicability of these frameworks in
diverse settings, on the periodization of collective action, on the divisive or unifying
impact of identity politics, and on the appropriateness of political engagement by
researchers. Transnational activist networks are developing new protest repertoires
that challenge anthropologists and other scholars to rethink conventional approaches
to social movements.
The worldwide political effervescence of “the long 1960s” (Isserman & Kazin
2000) contributed to a paradigm crisis in social scientific thinking about collective
action. This prolonged decade of extraordinary upheaval in New York, Chicago,
Berkeley,Paris,Rome,Berlin, Tokyo,MexicoCity,Prague,Beijing,and elsewhere
wasthemost intense period of grassroots mobilization since the 1930s. Civilrights
and antiwar movements, youth and student rebellions, mobilizations in defense of
regional autonomy and the environment and for the rights of women, gays and
lesbians, the elderly, the disabled, and a host of other emergent groups, identities,
andcauses converged with an unprecedented waveof anticolonial and antiimperial
insurgenciesin poorer regionsoftheglobe.Socialscientistsofvariousorientations
concerned with geopolitics and revolution had ready-made categories (“national
liberation,” “subversion”) for analyzing events in the “Third World.” But the tur-
moilinthe developedNorth highlighted theinadequacyof existingsocialscientific
frameworks and gave rise to new and rich debates.
Eventhoughanthropologistswerewell represented as participantsinthistideof
unrestandtheir1960ssensibilitiescontributedtonewconceptualizations of“inter-
remained to a large extenton the periphery of social scientific theorizing about col-
0084-6570/01/1021-0285$14.00 285
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(Roseberry 1995) pioneered by Wolf (1969), a work that was an outgrowth of the
teach-in movement. In part, anthropologists’ marginal involvement in discussions
of collective action reflected an academic division of labor that assigned them
peasants, the urban (especially Third World) poor, ethnic minorities, and mil-
lenarian or syncretic religious sects and allocated other types of mobilization (and
national-level phenomena) to sociologists, political scientists, or historians. Also
important by the mid-1980s, in the United States at least, was anthropologists’ fas-
cination with “everyday” as opposed to organized resistance and with microlevel
analyses of power `a la Foucault (Burdick 1995). Ethnographic research on social
movements,moreover,tendedtoresist“grand theoretical” generalizations because
close-up views of collective action often looked messy, with activist groups and
coalitions forming, dividing,and reassembling and with significant sectors of their
target constituencies remaining on the sidelines.
This article tells four long stories in a short space. The first is an account of the
post-1960s paradigm shift in social scientific studies of collective action, which,
thoughoverlyabbreviatedandcanonical,isnecessaryforexaminingthestateof the
field today and particularly what transpired when theory traveled beyond Europe
and North America. The second is an appraisal of how ideas about periodization
shaped competing post-1960s analytical frameworks. The third concerns the cen-
trifugal and centripetal, or fragmenting and unifying, impacts of identity politics,
the disproportionate attention social scientists devote to movements they like, and
new developments in social movements themselves, particularly an intensifying
transnational activism, a disenchantment on the part of diverse activists with iden-
tity politics, and a resurgence of varied kinds of struggles against inequality.
One of the most striking features of the collective action field is its continu-
ing intellectual compartmentalization. Debates have tended to occur along par-
allel and disconnected tracks, reflecting different disciplinary personal networks
and forms of socialization and inquiry and a major divide separating case study
and grand theory practitioners. One recent effort at synthesis notes that scho-
lars of revolutions, strikes, wars, social movements, ethnic mobilizations, demo-
cratization, and nationalism have paid little attention to each other’s findings
(McAdam et al 2001). Students of right-wing movements rarely engage theories
about other kinds of collective action. Despite frequent gestures toward trans-
gressingacademic boundaries(and notwithstandingoccasionalsuccesses), anthro-
pologists on the one hand and sociologists and political scientists on the other
have had little impact on or awareness of each other’s efforts to understand social
One of the few non–regionally focused anthologies on social movements edited by U.S.
anthropologists is indicative of this mutual unfamiliarity, despite the inclusion of case
studies—virtually all first-rate—from a range of disciplines. While it may be true that
“the study of protest outside the industrial North is largely under-theorized” (Boudreau
1996, p. 175), Fox & Starn (1997) suggest—seemingly unaware of a substantial literature
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A short article of broad scope can obviously invoke only some theorists and
works (and movements). I emphasize recent work and allude sparingly to the
“classics” of the field and more briefly than I would prefer (or not at all) to various
relevant issues. Anthropologists, for reasons noted above,are less well represented
than scholars from other disciplines. Geographically, the emphasis of this review
is on the Americas and Europe, not because significant social movements have
not occurred elsewhere, but because these have been prominent sites of pertinent
theoreticalproduction. Academicbooks andspecializedjournals—including those
devoted to collective action studies, such as Mobilization and Research in Social
Movements,Conflicts and Change—havebeen keyfora for manydebates.Because
activists and scholars engage each other (and sometimes are each other), some
of the most provocative analyses of social movements’ visions, strategies, and
practices appear in nonacademic media: hybrid activist-scholarly publications,
small journals of opinion, ’zines, web pages, organizing handbooks, and manuals
by those who seek to control particular kinds of movements.
In the early 1970s, functionalism still held sway in U.S. sociology. Park and
the Chicago School had, since the 1920s, juxtaposed “social organization”—
institutionalized, conventional patterns of everyday life—to “collective behav-
ior,” a category that included crowds, “sects,” fashions, and mass movements,
all of which they saw as simultaneously symptoms of societal disequilibria and
harbingers of new patterns of social relations (Park 1967). Smelser (1962) rejected
the notion of “disequilibria” as “too strong” and attributed collective behavior to
tensions that exceeded the capacity of a social system’s homeostatic mechanisms
and that constituted a source of new bases of Durkheimian-style solidarity. Related
psychological theories explained the rise of totalitarianism as a mass response to
economic crises and “magnetic leaders” by individuals with a “mob mentality”
(Arendt 1951) or an “authoritarian character” (Fromm 1941). These theories about
totalitarianism were of limited use in analyzing turmoil in largely democratic, af-
fluent polities in the 1960s. Olson (1965) advanced a notion that remains a point
of departure for much theorizing. An economist, Olson rejected theories based on
the irrationality of individuals[although he also stated it would “be better to turn to
psychology” than to economics to understand “fanatic” or “lunatic fringe” move-
ments “in unstable countries” (1965, pp. 161–62)]. Instead, he posited individuals
on contentious politics—that “we still know relatively little about the ample and charged
territory between the cataclysmic upheaval of revolutionary war and the small incidents
of everyday resistance, ... social struggles where people enter into open protest yet do not
seek the total overthrow of the social order” (p. 3). Moreover, apart from a few individuals
in each group whose work genuinely engages historicaldocumentation and scholarship, the
vast literature by historians on collective action tends to be surprisingly underutilized.
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fortheturbulent1960s—because each could benefit from others’ activityasa“free
rider,” pursuing low-risk self-interest at the group’s expense. Like the “tragedy of
the commons” model, which was later criticized (Prakash 1998) as divorced from
culture or—alternatively—as a caricature of a historically specific homo economi-
cus,this perspectiveexplainedcollectiveactionas the sumofstrategicdecisionsby
individuals,who could only be induced to join a group effort through incentives or
sanctions. Given the stability of North America and Western Europe and the high
risks many 1960s activists assumed—arrests, police beatings, ruined careers—
“rational choice” did not appear to be a promising avenue of interpretation
Marxism, still in or close to the mainstream in European universities in “the
long 1960s,” viewed conflict in capitalist societies as revolving around the fun-
damental contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. In all but the
most heterodox Marxist (Thompson 1971) tendencies, class interest and historical
agency derived unproblematically from class position (although classes “in” and
“of”themselvesraisedless easilyresolvedissuesofconsciousnessandhegemony).
This framework too was of little use in making sense of movements in the 1960s
that frequently had largely middle-class leadership and multiclass constituencies.
By the mid-1970s, two distinct perspectives emerged that attempted to fill the
apparent theoretical vacuum: the “identity-oriented” or European paradigm [also
widely termed new social movements (NSMs)] and the “resource mobilization”
or American paradigm (Cohen 1985, Della Porta & Diani 1999, Foweraker 1995,
Garner 1997, Lara˜na et al 1994, McAdam et al 1996a). Neither comprised an
entirelycoherent“school,”butfor heuristic purposes the differencesbetween them
constitute a suitable, if conventional, point of departure.
For Touraine (1988), among the first and most prolific advocates of a NSMs
approach, the issue of social movementshas two dimensions, loosely derived from
aspectsof Marx’sand Weber’s thought.Thefirstis the notion of a“centralconflict”
in society; for Marx, this was the struggle between labor and capital in industrial
society. But, Touraine argues, with the passage to a “postindustrial” society, labor-
capital conflict subsides, other social cleavages become more salient and generate
new identities, and the exercise of power is less in the realm of work and more
in “the setting of a way of life, forms of behavior, and needs” (1988, p. 25). The
main Weberian element in Touraine’s approach is the concept of “the actor” as key
protagonist of “social action.” In postindustrial society, diverse collectivities have
a growing capacity to act on themselves and to struggle for “historicity”—“the
set of cultural, cognitive, economic, and ethical models ... through which social
practices are constituted” (1988, pp. 40–41). Touraine thus posits the “way of
life” as the focus of contention; struggles that seek to affect the relations of dom-
ination characteristic of the “way of life” (with its forms of knowledge, mores,
and investment) are “social movements.” He explicitly excludes from this cate-
gory, however, forms of “collective behavior” that “defend” the social order or
“social struggles” directed at the state. Melucci (1989) argued that social move-
ments have three important dimensions: actors’ recognition of commonalities and
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shared identities, objectives, and understandings; adversarial relations with oppo-
nents who claim the same goods or values; and actions that exceed the tolerance
limits of a social system, thereby pushing it to change. Melucci did a doctorate
under Touraine in the 1970s at the
Ecole Pratique des Hautes
Etudes, but this
definition suggests a move beyond his professor’s stress on the structural precon-
ditions of forms of collective action in postindustrial society. Instead, adopting
Habermas’s (1981) terminology (though not his emphasis on “defensive” move-
ments), Melucci pointed to how the state and market rationalize the privatesphere,
generating new social groupings and collective action that illuminates “the silent
and arbitrary elements of the dominant codes” and “publicizes new alternatives”
(1989, p. 63).
Touraine, Melucci, and other advocates of NSMs theory (Laclau & Mouffe
1985) delineated characteristics they saw as particular to the NSMs and that con-
trasted with the “old” labor or working-class movement. Although the “old” labor
movement upheld class as the primary social cleavage, category of analysis, or-
ganizational principle, and political issue, the NSMs emerge out of the crisis of
modernity and focus on struggles over symbolic, informational, and cultural re-
sources and rights to specificity and difference. Participation in NSMs is itself a
goal, apart from any instrumental objectives, because everyday movement prac-
tices embody in embryonic form the changes the movements seek. The NSMs
diffuse “social conflictuality to more and more numerous relations.” This prolife-
ration of “points of antagonism” produces “new social subjects” whose “multiple
social positions” complicate interpretations of political agency based on a single,
privileged principle of identity (Laclau & Mouffe 1985).
If NSMs theorists in Europe tended to explain collective action as a response to
“claims,” grievances, or postindustrial society, on the other side of the Atlantic a
growing coterie of social scientists pointed out that the mere existence of discon-
tent, which was presumably omnipresent, could not explain how movements arose
in particular times and places. Several authors in particular (McCarthy & Zald
1977, Zald 1992, McAdam et al 1996b) argued for a focus on “resource mobiliza-
tion.”This “strategy-oriented”paradigm (Cohen 1985) took Olson’s rational-actor
postulate as “one of its underlying problems” (McCarthy & Zald 1977, p. 1216)
but professed to have solved the “free rider” puzzle by analyzing the resources—
material, human, cognitive, technical, and organizational—that movements de-
ployed in order to expand, reward participants, and gain a stake in the political
system. Resource mobilization (RM) theory, with its focus on the construction
of “social movement industries” made up of “social movement organizations,”
regarded collective action mainly as interest group politics played out by socially
connected groups rather than by the most disaffected. Movement “entrepreneurs”
had the task of mobilizing resources and channeling discontent into organizational
forms. Resource availability and preference structures became the perspective’s
central foci rather than the structural bases of social conflict (as in Touraine’s ver-
sion of NSMs) or state and market assaults on the private sphere (as in Melucci’s
and Habermas’s versions).
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In underscoring the importance of mobilization processes and well-endowed
organizations (and competition among the latter), the RM paradigm tended to dis-
regard situations in which social movements, usually of the very poor, emerged
withfewresources or where overtorganization—incontexts of extremeinequality,
severe repression, and hopeless odds—endangered participants, producing “shad-
owy” (Piven & Cloward 1977), “submerged” (Melucci 1989), or “hidden” forms
of resistance (Scott 1990) that might or might not lead to collective action (Bur-
dick 1998). By viewing social movements as interest group politics, the paradigm
understood “success” primarily as the achievement of policy objectives rather
than in relation to broader processes of cultural transformation. RM proponents
eventually conceded as well that their framework did not deal adequately with
“enthusiasm, spontaneity, and conversion experiences” or the “feelings of solidar-
ity and communal sharing” that rewarded movement participants (Zald 1992, pp.
Several scholars influenced by the American paradigm advocated incorpo-
rating a focus on states and on “political opportunity structure” (POS) into the
RM model’s concern with the internal dynamics of organizations. The POS ap-
proach tended to examine movement strategizing in the context of the balance
of opportunities-threats for challengers and facilitation-repression by authorities
(Tarrow1998).Some POS scholars who workedwith European case materials em-
phasized a diachronic approach, studying the frequency of contentious events over
theirdistinctionbetween “events,”“conjunctures,” and longuesdur
& Tilly 1974, Tilly 1986). Other Europeanists (Tarrow 1989) examined the open-
ing and closing of POSs over much shorter periods. A complementary approach
involved analyzing conflicts occurring around the same time in relation to space,
withina givenregionor nation(Shorter& Tilly1974), or as part of a cross-national
comparison (Gamson & Meyer 1996). This synchronic approach had antecedents,
not alwaysacknowledged, in European studies of early industrial-era protest, such
as Hobsbawm & Rud´e (1968), who analyzed, for 1830–1832, types of repres-
sion and disturbances according to frequency, geographical location, categories of
persons targeted, and damages inflicted.
Critics noted that the POS perspective gave little attention to discursive aspects
of identity, gender, the social construction of POS itself, or its local and interna-
tional aspects (Abdulhadi 1998). They further chargedthat POS was too broad and
virtuallyeveryaspectofthe socialmovementenvironment...anall-encompassing
fudge factor ... [which] may explain nothing at all” (Gamson & Meyer 1996, p.
274). Increasingly, POS proponents came to see it as one element of a broader po-
litical process, which included greater emphasis on the cultural-historical sources
of discontent, protest, and mobilization (and which was distinct from—and appar-
ently incognizant of—the similarly named perspective that evolved out of Manch-
ester anthropology). By the 1990s, proponents of the political process approach
echoed Cohen’s (1985) call for fusing the European and American paradigms
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and professed to have an “emerging synthesis.” This included “political oppor-
tunities,” “mobilizing structures,” and “framing,” a category encompassing the
ways in which collective identities arose, as well as the interpretative, discursive,
and dramaturgical practices that shaped movement participants’ understandings
of their condition and of possible alternatives (McAdam et al 1996a, 2001; Tarrow
1998). By the end of the decade, political process enthusiasts could claim that the
model occupied a “dominant” (Garner 1997) or “hegemonic” (Giugni 1999) place
in the study of social movements.
It is remarkable how little attention has been devoted to understanding why con-
trastingapproaches originated on differentsides of the Atlantic. Melucci attributed
the rise in the United States of RM theory, with its presumption of rationality and
metaphors about “entrepreneurs,” to the “unprecedented development of organi-
zation theory in the analysis of business and administration” and to the weakness
of Marxist or radical thought in U.S. sociology (1989, p. 194). Della Porta &
Diani (1999) indicate that in the 1980s, rising disillusion with a strong Marxist
intellectual tradition in Europe contributed to a search for new non–class-based
dimensions of conflict. Foweraker (1995), looking at the sociopolitical context
of theory, suggests that in western Europe the “social democratic consensus,”
developed welfare states, and powerful labor organizations and corporatist tradi-
tions contributed to making NSMs look genuinely “new” and to producing ex-
planations that stressed major societal transformations. In contrast, in the United
States, in the absence of a strong labor movement or a social democratic class
pact, outsider groups (the civil rights movement was the paradigmatic case for
RM theorists) had to mobilize resources to gain representation in the political
system (McAdam et al 2001, Morris 1999). A further cause of trans-Atlantic dif-
ferences was the isolation in which theorists of the two traditions worked; only
in the mid-1980s were there sustained contacts between and joint conferences
of social movements scholars from Europe and North America (McAdam et al
How did NSMs and POS theories fare when they traveled outside Europe and
North America? Latin America, in particular, has been fertile territory for studies
of collective action, though largely by scholars and scholar-activists influenced by
NSMs (Escobar & Alvarez 1992, Alvarez et al 1998) or historical-structural pers-
pectives (Eckstein 1989).
EventhoughRMand POS perspectivesonmovements’
“Historical-structural” approaches “show ideology, values, traditions, and rituals to be of
consequence and trace the importance of culture to group, organization, and community
dynamics and to other features of social structure. Yet they never presume that protest is
mechanically determined by social structure. They show the patterning of defiance to be
contingent on historical circumstances” (Eckstein 1989, p. 3).
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interactions with states were pertinent in Latin America (Foweraker 1995), they
had less appeal outside developed northern democracies because it was difficult,
especially under authoritarian regimes, to imagine political opportunity as a sig-
nificant explanatory category; tellingly, in the few works on Latin America that
make explicit use of a POS perspective, such as Schneider’s (1995) ethnographic
tour-de-forceon Chile’s urbanpoorunder the Pinochet dictatorship, the theoretical
framework is understated. Davis (1999, p. 586) argues that NSMs theory’s empha-
sis on civil society appealed “to the lived experience and normative ideals of Latin
American intellectuals.” Also important, however, were the ties to Latin America
of NSMs theorists in Europe. Touraine, who spent the mid-1950s at the Univer-
sity of Chile and developed his ideas about “historicity” in dialogue with Latin
American sociologists in the early 1970s (Touraine 1973), has had continuing ties
to the region. The writings of Laclau, a native of Argentina established in Europe
who shifted from Althusserianism to a poststructuralism that drew selectively and
idiosyncratically on Gramsci (Laclau & Mouffe 1985), have been widely read in
Latin America since the early 1970s. It is likely, furthermore, that in the 1970s
and 1980s visceral anti-U.S. sentiments (especially in Mexico and among exiles
there) and a strong Europhile streak (particularly in Buenos Aires) predisposed
Latin American intellectuals to embrace NSMs perspectives and to ignore those
from U.S. academia. Anthropologists were drawn to NSMs perspectives for simi-
lar reasons, as well as for the central role that NSMs accorded to cultural practice
as a force for political transformation (Alvarez et al 1998, Escobar & Alvarez
Within Latin America,recentstudies of collectiveactioncluster geographically,
places. The 1994 Zapatista uprising in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas has
inspired an extraordinary outpouring of scholarly work, much of it directed at in-
forming a sympathetic public or mobilizing solidarity. Drawing on three decades
of work on Chiapas, Collier (1994), produced less than a year after the Zapatis-
tas’ rebellion, remains an essential reference. Emphasizing agrarian rather than
indigenous sources of insurgency, especially the constitutional modifications that
effectively ended land reform, Collier describes how community factionalism and
population growth generated an exodus of disaffected migrants to remote jungles
in eastern Chiapas. Although the Zapatistas condemned the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and warned of its deleterious consequences for
Mexico’s peasantry, linking the insurrection to NAFTA, Collier says, was a “pre-
text,” because other grievances had kindled the movement during years of clan-
destine organizing. In 1994, the origins of the Zapatista National Liberation Army
the uprising, details the multiple strands of peasant, indigenous, and student orga-
nizing that eventuallycoalesced in the EZLN. In analyzing the Zapatistas’ struggle
on behalf of Chiapas Indians and the Mexican poor in general, Harvey maintains
that the construction of democracy in Mexico often depends on informal local and
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regional, rather than formal national-level processes.
Womack (1999) introduces
a first-rate collection of primary documents on Chiapas and extends inquiry for-
ward and backward in time. He relates the erratic course of EZLN-government
negotiations and also traces the notorious intransigence, venality, and bigotry of
contemporary highland elites to their conquistador ancestors’ schemes to defraud
the Crown of tribute and to racialize space in their urban centers. Drawing on
a decades-long involvement with Chiapas, Nash (1997) indicates how Zapatista
outreach campaigns are elements of a broader project of mobilizing civil society
and of redefining modernist notions of democracy in a pluriethnic Mexico.
The Zapatista case is significant not only for its reverberations within Mex-
ico, but also because it figures as a prototype for sometimes rhapsodic claims
about a new period characterized by “informational” (Castells 1997) or “post-
modern” (Nash 1997) movements and “democratic” (Touraine 2000) guerrillas.
Most Zapatista internet activity is carried out by a small number of sympathetic
individuals and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), but their presence on the
net has allowed them to communicate demands, foster alliances, and represent
themselves as part of a global struggle against neoliberal capitalism. Among the
most in-depth and singular treatments of this phenomenon is a U.S. Army–funded
RAND Corporation study (Ronfeldt et al 1998) that provides a glimpse of how
counterinsurgency planners view this new form of politics.
Apart from the high-profile Zapatistas, diverse Latin American struggles led
social scientists to reconsider approaches to collective action and NSMs theory, in
particular. Two outstanding anthologies (Escobar & Alvarez 1992, Alvarez et al
1998), among the few in which anthropologists (as well as Latin America–based
scholars) are well represented, provide a useful guide to the field as it developed
in the 1990s.
Despite the wide scope of these anthologies, which range from examinations of
the state (Fals Borda 1992) and democratization (Calder´on et al (1992) to cyber-
politics (Ribeiro 1998) and grassroots (Baierle 1998; Y´udice 1998) and transna-
tional (Alvarez 1998) organizing, two broad areas are conspicuously absent, or
nearly so. Peasant movements receive relatively short shrift, apart from Starn
(1992). This is perhaps surprising, given that in Mexico outside Chiapas (Par´e
1994, Williams 2001), in Central America (Edelman 1998, Edelman 1999), and
elsewhere, these have been in the forefront of opposition to neoliberalism and
that in Brazil social movements research has concentrated heavily on struggles of
small farmers and the landless (Houtzager & Kurtz 2000, Maybury-Lewis 1994,
Pereira 1997, Stephen 1997). Right-wing movements are another area largely
ignored in these volumes, reflecting in all likelihood a reluctance on the part of
This parallels Rubin’s (1997) innovative work on the leftist Zapotec movement COCEI in
Juchit´an, Oaxaca. Both works critique state-centered understandings of Mexican politics
(Castells 1997).
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NSMs scholars to acknowledge that conservative responses are also an outcome
of proliferating social tensions, rapid cultural change, the advance of democrati-
zation, and the progressive movements themselves (Calhoun 1994, Payne 2000,
Pichardo 1997).
When NSMs perspectives traveled outside of social democratic Europe, the in-
clusion in their purview of major movements in Latin America—human rights and
democratization, indigenous and minority peoples, Christian-based communities,
the urban poor, street children—entailed a recognition of economic and power
inequalities as key dimensions of collective action. This did not mean a resort to
an obsolete, unidimensional class analysis, however, because the actors in mo-
tion went way beyond the traditional proletariat and because investigations of real
movements nearly always uncovered participants from a range of class origins
and intense contention over issues of identity and representation. This continued
significance of class or distributive conflicts led many Latin Americanists to es-
chew NSMs terminology altogether and to speak instead of “popular” (literally,
“people’s”) movements (Foweraker 1995).
One irony of the stress on newness of NSMs was that emerging movements of
women, environmentalists, gays and lesbians, and oppressed minorities, as well
as anticolonial forces in the Third World, sought to uncover hidden histories of
their political ancestors in order to fortify their legitimacy and forge new col-
lective identities. This rediscovery of the complexity of old and first-wave social
movements was part ofwider efforts to theorize periodizations of collective action
through examining “origins,” “waves,” “cycles,” and “protest repertoires.” The
discussion of movements in terms of origins has occurred chiefly in relation to
environmentalism. Two recent works highlight what is at stake (Grove 1995, Judd
2000). Efforts to theorize the Northern environmentalist movements that arose in
the 1960s, while acknowledging their diversity, usually argued that affluence and
urbanization produced an appreciation and need for natural amenities. Melucci,
in an uncharacteristically blunt declaration, insinuated that contemporary environ-
mental movements are offspring of a “new intellectual-political elite” living in a
“gilded but marginalizing ghetto” (Melucci 1996, p. 165). Similar “postmaterial-
ist” premises extended to explanations of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century
conservation campaigns as projects of “enlightened elites” or even of “a gentry
overwhelmed by industrialization” (Castells 1997, p. 121). Against this predom-
inant outlook, Grove (1995) attributes the rise of environmentalism to Europe’s
encounter with the tropics and to the devastation caused by rapacious plantation
economies. Judd, focusing on rural New England, also challenges the thesis of
the elite origins of conservation, which he says derives from a “tendency to glean
evidence of rising concern about forests from federal publications, national jour-
nals, or writings of prominent thinkers” (2000, pp. 90–91). In a meticulous study
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of local sources, he finds a pervasive conservation ethic, rooted in common uses
of forest, pasture, and farmland, which superseded private property rights until
well into the nineteenth century. After 1870, “conservation took on class over-
tones” (2000, p. 178) as genteel anglers, hunters, and federal bureaucrats took
up the cause, reshaping notions about the place of “nature” in agrarian land-
scapes, as well as nature itself. The thesis of conservation’s upper-class
origins, Judd maintains, contributes to demagogic efforts today to paint envi-
ronmentalism as an elite conspiracy unfairly implemented at great cost to the
working poor.
Guha & Mart´ınez-Alier (1997) trace early environmentalism to the destruction
wrought by the industrial revolution at home and in colonial territories and to a
heterogeneous collection of thinkers, such as Aldous Huxley, Mahatma Gandhi,
and urbanist Lewis Mumford. The main contribution of the work, however, is
its trenchant critique of developed-countryoverconsumptionand its elaboration of
commonalities and distinctions between movements.They find postmaterialist en-
vironmentalisms in the “empty-belly” South (“essentialist eco-feminism,” which
sees poor women as embodying intrinsic “naturalness,” and “deep ecology” ten-
dencies, which revere biotic integrity more than human needs), as well as ones in
the “full-stomach” North (environmental justice movements), which deploy the
language of class and, at times, race to organize. “Social conflicts with ecolog-
ical content” include struggles against “environmental racism” (siting dumps in
minority communities), “toxic imperialism” (waste disposal in poorer countries),
“ecologically unequal exchange” (based on prices which do not reflect local ex-
ternalities), the North “dumping” subsidized agricultural surpluses in the South
(to the detriment of small farmers there), and “biopiracy” (corporate appropria-
tion of genetic resources without recognition of peasant or indigenous intellectual
property rights).
a convention that reveals and conceals key continuities and ruptures in forms of
exclusion and of women’s collective action. The demands of different national
“first-wave” women’s movements are usually said to have centered on suffrage
and political rights [although it is also clear that issues of sexuality and male
violence were important in contexts as varied as Germany (Grossmann 1995)
and Puerto Rico (Findlay 1998)]; “second-wave” movements in the 1960s and
1970s demanded equity in the workplace and domestic unit, exposed the political
foundations of seemingly personal circumstances, and championed a range of new
rights, from access to abortion to protection from sexual harassment; and “third-
wave” feminists, generally born after 1963 and active in the 1990s and after, take
cultural production and sexual politics as key sites of struggle, seeking to fuel
micropolitical struggles outside of formal institutional channels.
Historians who located first-wave feminism in the mid-nineteenth to the early
twentieth century usually did so provisionally, concerned that such clear-cut cate-
gorizations obscured significant antecedents as well as major variations between,
say, the United States and Norway, or India and France (Sarah 1983); indeed,
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arguments for the inclusion of women in “the rights of man” reach back to the
French Revolution (Scott 1996) and the early abolitionist movement (Keck &
tion. Discussions about third-wave feminism, in contrast, reflect the emergence (in
older second wavers and conservative postfeminists of the 1980s (Baumgardner &
Richards 2000, Heywood & Drake 1997).
Thewavesformulationis problematicalinthat it privilegespolitical generations
andtends to mask variationamong movementparticipants and organizationsalong
lines of age, class, race, and sexual orientation, aswell as between- and after-wave
activity. In the United States, for example, linking the first and second waves were
theelite-ledNational Women’s Party(which providedmanyalumnae to the second
wave) and the Communist-dominated Congress of American Women, which for 5
years following World War II boasted some 250,000 members (several of whom
were leading historians of the first wave and activists of the second wave) before it
dissolved during the 1950s red scare (Rosen 2000).Whittier (1995) points out that
numerous local radical feminist collectives were active during the hostile 1980s
interval between the second and third waves but that their rejection of mainstream
politics often rendered them invisible to social movements scholars whose main
focus was national organizations.
Political process theorists did not generally draw sharp distinctions between
waves or between new and old movements but some nonetheless posited a signif-
icant break between the “parochial,” defensive forms of collective action charac-
teristic of Europe up to the mid-nineteenth century (charivaris, machine-breaking,
field invasions, food riots) and the modern repertoire of contention that flowered
after 1848 with the consolidation of nation-states. Tilly (1986, p. 392), for ex-
ample, described the social movement as a challenge to the state that employs a
protest repertoire of public meetings, demonstrations, and strikes and that attempts
to bargain with established authorities on behalf of its constituency.
Tarrow (1998), also employing a political process perspective, shared Tilly’s
notion of a fundamental shift in protest repertoires around the mid-nineteenth
century. For Tarrow, however, the principal concept for periodization was the
“protest cycle” [which in later work (1998) he termed cycle of contention], a time
of heightened activity typically involving more than one movement.
Although the claims of some 1980s NSMs enthusiasts that NSMs represented
a fundamental rupture with a putative, unitary old movement were quickly rec-
ognized as “spurious” (Escobar & Alvarez 1992), even recent work sometimes
maintains a marked new-versus-old distinction, arguing, for example, that the tra-
ditional Left did not consider the relation between culture and politics a “central
question” (Dagnino 1998, p. 34). Such assertions, likely rooted in social scientists’
curious underutilization of the “vast number of accounts by historians ... on the
cultural activities of political movements” (Eyerman & Jamison 1998, p. 12), be-
forgotten histories of activism. Some pointed to the identity-based dimensions of
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old working-class movements, which in the United States (Calhoun 1993, Flacks
1988, Freeman 2000; Mishler 1999) and elsewhere(Fisher 1999; Waterman 1998)
took up such issues as child labor, work environments, women’s status, housing,
health, community life, education, and access to public services. The middle class,
the supposedly distinctive source of new movements, was also prominent in many
olderones,notablycampaignsin Europe and the United States for abolition, prohi-
bition, reproductive rights, and suffrage (Grossmann 1995, Lerner 1998, Pichardo
How, though, were these earlier versions of cultural politics forgotten in the
methods of state repression” and their impact on movements “have received little
systematic attention” (Carley 1997, p. 153).
Adam (1995) traces the sources of
some NSMs theorists’ “amnesia” about earlier militant traditions to both the crisis
in Marxism, which allowed leftist scholars to “see” non-class-based activity they
had previously overlooked, and to the impact of totalitarian regimes in Europe and
the Cold War red scare in the United States, which destroyed diverse progressive
Although some collective action theorists deplore the lack of “a theory that ex-
plainsthe relationship between preexistingprotest traditions and the rise...ofnew
socialmovements”(Morris1999,p. 536), evidenceaboundsofactivistcontinuities
from one era to another and across movements.Among the approaches in the liter-
ature on the United States are those that emphasize broad cultural transformations,
the life trajectories of groups of activists, the role of institutions and organizations,
and the reinventing of musical and othertraditions. Flacks (1988, p. 181) notes that
astheU.S.New Dealgenerationretreatedpoliticallyinthe1950sandconcentrated
on family life, many tried to apply humanistic and democratic values in the home,
producing offspring predisposed to question mainstream culture.
Together with a “vibrant semi-underground current of anarchistic mockery of
conventional authority” (Flacks 1988, p. 181) embodied in the Beat poets, Mad
magazine, risqu´e satirists like Lenny Bruce, and rock and rhythm-and-blues mu-
sic, which discredited “the notion that creativity obeyed a color line” (Isserman &
Kazin 2000, p. 19), this quiet cultural shift laid the groundwork for rebellion in
the 1960s. Some accounts of the 1960s argue that future student activists “grew
up with little or no contact with a previous generation that had been radicalized
by the Depression” (Fraser et al 1988, p. 17). However, veteran radicals disillu-
sioned with earlier traditions—Communism, pacifism, Trotskyism—had by that
time often discarded old dogmas while retaining political ideals, contacts, and
skills that contributed mightily to the civil rights, antinuclear, anti–Vietnam War,
Hart (1996. p. 238), in a magnificent study of the Greek Resistance, makes a similar
observation but then goes on to provide an impressive oral historical account of Cold War–
era political repression. Usually, however, such assertions reflect intellectual and political
isolation from those (Arditti 1999, Feldman 1991) who have made repression a central
object of study.
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and women’s movements (Freeman 2000, Rosen 2000, Whittier 1995). Institu-
tions that survived McCarthyism also served as bridges between the protest cycles
of the 1930s and 1960s (Horton et al 1990). The rediscovery and nurturing of
musical and other artistic traditions are important features of social movements’
action repertoires and continuity (Eyerman & Jamison 1998), although expres-
sive culture has also sometimes constituted a source of intramovement contention
(Monson 1997).
The “invention and creation of new rights” (Dagnino 1998, p. 50; Melucci 1989),
rooted in the struggles of emergent social groups, clearly accelerated in “the long
1960s” along with the mass adoption and refashioning of views and practices that
were earlier peculiar to small cultural and political avant-gardes (Flacks 1988,
Fraser et al 1988, Isserman & Kazin 2000). For Castells (1997) as for his mentor
Touraine, “identity” is a process through which social actors construct meaning on
the basis of cultural attributes that are given priority over other potential sources
of meaning. Calhoun (1994) historicizes the category in relation to the rise of
individualism since the Protestant Reformation, the advent of nation-states, and
Enlightenment appeals to nature as a “moral source.” Whether and under what
conditions the recent proliferation of particular identities produced opportunities
for new alliances or merely political fragmentation remains much debated, as are
the related tendencies of identity-based movements to oscillate between down-
playing and celebrating differences from majority groups or to lose their political
character altogether.
ing view of disability. Charlton (1998) chronicles how people considered disabled
in southern Africa, Asia, and the Americas organized, often against the wishes of
paternalistic, able-bodied advocates, to make notions of normality more inclusive
and to “break with the traditional perception of disability as a sick, abnormal,
and pathetic condition” (p. 10). Disability oppression has interrelated sources:
poverty and powerlessness, resulting from both economic exclusion and under-
development (four fifths of the world’s disabled live in poor countries); views of
the disabled as degraded and aberrant, which legitimize exclusionary practices;
and internalization by the disabled themselves of attitudes of self-loathing and
self-pity, which hinder understanding of their situation and organizing around it.
To perhaps a greater extent than with other movements, the aspirations of the dis-
abled intersect with struggles against other forms of discrimination and for hous-
ing and veterans’ rights, a ban on land mines, the democratization of technology
and scientific knowledge, and the creation or preservation of workplace oppor-
tunities and social safety nets. They also, however, complicate the demands of
othermovementsin ways outsiders seldom anticipate. Saxton (1998), for example,
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in a searing critique of assumptions about prenatal diagnosis and selec-
tive abortion, challenges the belief that the quality of life for disabled people is
necessarily inferior and that raising a child with a disability is an undesirable
The reproductive rights movement emphasizes the right to have an abortion;
the disability rights movement, the right not to have to have an abortion.
(p. 375; emphasis in original).
Other identity-based social movementshave found expanding mainstream con-
ceptions of normality a source of internal contention. This is dramatically illus-
trated in the course of gay and lesbian politics since the 1969 Stonewall rebellion.
Early gay liberation movements practiced consciousness raising, exalted long-
repressed sexualities, contested the dominant sex/gender system, openly occupied
public space, and struggled for nondiscrimination and the depathologization of
homosexuality. The “assimilationist” advocacy groups that emerged out of more
radical and inclusive gay liberation movements of the early 1970s engaged in
a denial of difference intended to gain access to mainstream social institutions
and in positing an artificially homogeneous “gay essence” intended to build po-
litical unity (Cohen 2001). With the advent of AIDS and rising homophobia in
the 1980s, and a shift to confrontational tactics spurred by “the urgency of im-
pending death” (Hodge 2000, p. 356), activists attempted to destabilize the “gay
white middle-class identity,” which had dominated the movement and to ally with
a wider range of sexually, economically, and racially marginalized collectivities.
In contrast to the assimilationists, this involved an assertion of fundamental dif-
ference with “heteronormativity,” as well as a greater acknowledgment of how
gay and lesbian identities were plural, socially constructed, and inflected by race,
class, and national origin (Adam 1995, Stein 1997). This “queer” challenge to
earlier gay activism professed to have resolved a central conundrum of identity
politics by privileging “affinity,” a shared opposition to class-, race-, and gender-
based power and a common AIDS catastrophe rather than particular varieties of
sexual desire. Some scholar-activists, however, maintain that academic “queer
theory” is still mired in privilege, fails to follow the lead of the radical street
movement, and gives scant attention to political-economic aspects of power at all
levels, from the state and social class structure to the everyday practices that shape
public space (Hodge 2000). The latter misgiving is shared by critics who question
whether the category “queer” is an “overarching unifier” or just “another fraction
in the overall mosaic of contemporary gay and lesbian organizing” (Adam 1995,
p. 164).
The danger that identity-based politics could become a form of “narcissistic
withdrawal” impelled by aspirations for individual self-realization and “political
tribalism” (Melucci 1989, p. 209) has produced similar commentaries from vari-
ous directions. Claims of difference can fortify demands for new rights, but they
can imply an abdication of rights as well. In a scathing attack on “cultural” or
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“difference” feminism, di Leonardo (1998) points out that journalistic and New
Age “women’s culture tropes” ignore political-economic dimensions of gender
oppression and presuppose an immanent and superior female morality and nur-
turing capability that is held up as an alternative to the destructive militarism and
environmental ruin caused by aggressive,patriarchal men. The implication of such
arguments is that women deserve a place in society not because of any inherent
right but because of their innate capacity to make things better, a stance that no
other oppressed group is required to take.
“Beneath the current black-female-student-chicano-gay-elderly-youth-dis-
abled, ad nauseam, ‘struggles,’” Reed (1999) proclaims in an acerbic yet cogent
analysis of postsegregation African-American politics, “lies a simple truth: There
is no coherent opposition to the present administrative apparatus” (p. 55). He at-
tributes the “atrophy of opposition within the black community” to the breakdown
of the civil-rights–era consensus, a media-anointed leadership so enamored of
“authenticity” and “corporate racial politics” that it is incapable of acknowledging
class and interest-group differentiation within the supposedly unitary “commu-
nity,” and an “academic hermeticism” that is isolated from political action and
disinterested in distinguishing challenges to socioeconomic hierarchy from poli-
tically insignificant “everyday resistance” fads (1999, pp. 56, 151). Although it
would not be hard to take issue with Reed’s categorical gloom (or his indiffer-
ence to other struggles in his ad nauseam inventory), his larger point—that class
dynamics arise from and operate autonomously within and across identity-based
collectivities—remains an unavoidable limitation on the emancipatory potential
of movements defined in purely identity or difference terms.
A related pitfall of identity-based mobilizations is the facility with which many
become little more than fodder for lucrative corporate marketing crusades. In an
astutediscussion of howbrandingpractices have generated anticorporate activism,
Klein (1999) maintains that “diversity” is now“the mantra of global capital,” used
to absorb identity imagery of all kinds in order to peddle “mono-multiculturalism”
across myriad differentiated markets (p. 115).
Warren’s (1998) insightful study of pan-Maya activists, however, highlights
complications both of identity-based mobilization and of calls for a new class pol-
itics. Beginning in the mid-1980s, in the aftermath of genocide and in the midst
of continuing civil war, alongside and sometimes against popular movements that
demanded social rights (land, freedom to organize, an end to military impunity),
pan-Maya intellectuals launched an unabashedly essentialist cultural project that
includesrevitalizingIndian languages, revalorizing ancient calendrical andnumer-
ical systems (and more generally, ethnically specific epistemologies, spiritualities,
and leadership practices), and overturning received Ladino versions of history
with new readings of indigenous and Spanish chronicles. Their movements claim
a privileged authority in representing Mayan peoples, and strive for a “pluricul-
tural” nation in which they have collective, as well as individual, rights. The pan-
Maya movements’ carving out of political space via essentialist practices leads
Warren to argue for a middle ground in the analysis of identity politics, focusing
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on “the coexistence of multiple politics and histories...hidden by the antagonism
of ... anthropological constructions” (1998, p. 179).
Transcending such constructions in the pursuit of a grounded analysis of mul-
tiple politics is a challenging task. Chhachhi & Pittin (1999) question approaches
that either consider the primacy of one identity over another or simply “add to-
gether gender, ethnicity and class” (p. 68). Instead, they suggest viewing women’s
possibilities for action through the prism of time, space, and place in order to
understand how their “very multiplicity of roles and plethora of pressures may
provide both the impetus and the necessary networking” for them to press de-
mands at various work sites (p. 74). They suggest that “the question
of women’s consciousness” remains an “underdeveloped” area in theorizing iden-
tity politics. A considerable ethnographic literature on women in situations of na-
tional conflict, however, suggests that this project is further along than Chhachhi
& Pittin believe. Hart’s (1996) oral historical account of women in the Greek
Resistance, Abdulhadi’s (1998) examination of Palestinian women’s efforts to
carve out autonomous space within a larger nationalist movement, Aretxaga’s
(1997) work on gender politics in Northern Ireland, and Arditti’s (1999) study
of grandmothers of the disappeared in Argentina are notably successful efforts
to move beyond formulaic “additive” approaches and to comprehend how mul-
tiple identities emerge from and configure each other and political action, sub-
jectivity, and memory. Debates continue over the limitations and potentialities
of multiple politics (Stephen 1997), including mobilizing around motherhood
and the extent to which this implies essentialist notions of womanhood (Gledhill
Even though identity-based movements sometimes walk a fine line between cel-
ebrating particularities and promoting exclusivity or intolerance, the former di-
mension has received vastly more attention than the latter. NSMs scholars have
largely skirted the issue of right-wing collective action, in part due to Touraine’s
(and others’) limiting of the field to movements that seek “historicity” and in
In this she echoes feminists who call for “risking” essentialism in the formative stages of
movements (Calhoun 1994). Although Warren locates the origins of pan-Maya movements
in 1940s Catholic activism and in the crisis of the Guatemalan state in the 1980s, Forster’s
(1998) reconstruction of ethnic labor migration streams in the 1940s points to a proto–pan-
Mayan blurring of specific indigenous identities in the piedmont plantation belt. Grandin
(2000), who traces pan-Maya ideology to the nineteenth-century indigenist liberalism of
K’iche’ elites, argues that “the danger faced by many of the current proponents of Mayan
nationalism has to do with their trading in the sort of universalisms that will render the
creation of an indigenous identity meaningless to the majority of rural, poverty-stricken
Maya” (pp. 228–29).
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part because researchers overwhelmingly choose to study “attractive” movements
with which they sympathize (Calhoun 1994, Hellman 1992, Pichardo 1997, Starn
1999). Political process theorists typically emphasized Western civic move-
ments and largely sidestepped in-depth analysis of troubling questions raised by
the “violent, sectarian, and self-enclosed identity movements” of the 1990s
(Tarrow 1998, p. 204). Apart from some attempts to systematize concepts such as
backlash and reaction (Hirschman 1991) or to view conservative movements as
merely reactionary mirror-images of identity-based NSMs (Garner 1997), stud-
ies of the right constitute yet another parallel universe in collective action re-
search, with inconsistent connections to larger traditions of social movement
The exceptions suggest a variety of moves to specify the objects of study. For
Ginsburg (1998), “conservatism” involves “a complex balancing act between a
libertarian celebration of individualism, economic freedom, and capitalism, and
a traditionalist emphasis on community, moral order, and the like” (pp. 47–48).
She describes fieldwork with pro-choice and antiabortion activists—surely itself
a balancing act—and charts the changing composition of the right-to-life move-
ment, as evangelical Protestant men—many inclined to violence—displaced the
moderate women who had been local leaders in North Dakota. Diamond (1995),
in a far-reaching analysis of U.S. right-wing politics, objects that conservatism
implies reticence about change and thus fails to capture what many self-described
conservativesare about.“Toberight-wing,” sheargues,“meansto supportthestate
in its capacity as enforcer of order and to oppose the state as distributor of wealth
and power downward and more equitably in society” (p. 9, emphasis in original).
Berlet& Lyons(2000),in alandmarkstudy ofAmerican right-wingpopulismfrom
Bacon’s rebellion in 1676 to the militias of the 1990s, note that classifying pop-
ulist movements (which make antielitist appeals to “the people”) along a right-left
spectrum is often misleading. In contrast to Diamond, they stress that some rightist
movements have advocated downward distribution of wealth and power, though
it (pp. 5–6). In an examination of putschist military officers in Argentina, homi-
cidal landowners in Brazil, and violent paramilitary bands in Nicaragua, Payne
(2000) defines her object as “uncivil movements,” which employ deliberate vio-
lence and threats, as well as more conventional tactics and appeals to threat-
ened identities, to advance exclusionary policies in democratic polities. Echoing
Melucci’s discussion of NSMs, she declares that uncivil movements “emphasize
identity over interests. They use cultural symbols to empower new movements”
(p. 17).
The emergence of antiimmigrant movements in Europe is among the cases
that indicate the urgency of grasping how the right deploys cultural politics.
Stolcke (1995) contends that new “doctrines of exclusion” differ from older va-
rieties of organicist racism in positing irreducible cultural differences and deeply
ingrainedpropensities to fear andloathestrangersand to wish toliveamong people
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of the same national group. This new cultural fundamentalism eschews claims
about innate inferiority in favor of a rhetoric of difference. It posits a suppos-
edly generic human attribute—anxiety about the “other”—in order to construct
an antiuniversalist politics, assiduously avoiding rhetoric too directly suggestive
of fascist and Nazi racism. Stoler (1999), in a brief paper on the far-right Front
Nationale (FN) in Aix-en-Provence, calls attention—like Stolcke—to a peculiar
situation where racial discourse looms large and is simultaneously effaced or irrel-
evant. However, in contrast to frameworksthat distinguish a new “cultural racism”
from earlier “colonial racism,” she indicates that the old racism also spoke “a
language of cultural competencies, ‘good taste’ and discrepant parenting val-
ues” (p. 33), while the contemporary FN draws from a broader French cultural
repertoire that includes a toned-down racism but also patriotic republicanism and
anxieties about European integration and globalization. In the United States, a
basic theme of right-wing populist narratives is “producerism,” which “posits a
noble hard-working middle group constantly in conflict with lazy, malevolent,
or sinful parasites at the top and bottom of the social order” (Berlet & Lyons,
p. 348). Although the Christian Right employs coded scapegoating to identify so-
cial problems with low-incomecommunities of color, far-right white supremacists
endorse an explicitly biological racism. Each tends to reinforce the other in public
discourse. NSMs theorists, as well as government agencies, media, and human re-
lations organizations, frequently brand right-wing movements “irrational” (Cohen
1985, pp. 666–67). Berlet & Lyons (2000) warn against such “centrist/extremist”
interpretations, which see such movements as fringe phenomena. This, they ar-
gue, “obscures the rational choices and partially legitimate grievances that help
to fuel right-wing populist movements, and hides the fact that right-wing big-
otry and scapegoating are firmly rooted in the mainstream social and political
order” (p. 14). They give only passing attention, however, to how the owner-
ship and content of communications media shape notions of common sense and
facilitate growth of right-wing movements. The impact of hate radio and inter-
net sites seems to have been covered most by scholars interested in monitor-
ing (Hilliard & Keith 1999), rather than theorizing (Castells 1997), reactionary
Stock (1996) considers producerism almost synonymous with the “rural pro-
ducer radicalism” that (along with a “culture of vigilantism”) has been a constant
of U.S. small-farmer politics for 200 years. Early twentieth-century reform liber-
alism, such as the Farmer-Labor Party of the 1920s, had ties to rural producer rad-
icalism, but more recent “compensatory liberalism” neglected the values of many
rural Americans. The U.S. farm crisis of the 1980s gave rise to armed right-wing
groups (Stock 1996) and to antimilitarist, conservationistorganizations influenced
by Christian notions of land stewardship (Mooney & Majka 1995). Clearly, “the
roots of violence, racism, and hatred can be and have been nourished in the same
soil and from the same experiences that generated rural movementsfor democracy
and equality” (Stock 1996, p. 148).
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At the same time that some U.S. farmers turned to right-wing populism, others
gravitated to movements—many of them transnational—influenced by environ-
mentalism, feminism, and opposition to unfettered free trade (Mooney & Majka
1995, Ritchie 1996). From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, farmers’ protests at
GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) meetings galvanized a growing
international movement critical of the lack of democratic accountability of supra-
national institutions, of the terms under which agriculture was included in free-
trade agreements, and of howneoliberal policies and industrial farming threatened
rural livelihoods, human health, genetic diversity, and the resource base (Brecher
et al 2000). Small-farmer opposition actions and transnational organizing flour-
ished in areas where regional economic integration and supranational governance
were making their weight felt at the local level. In France, farmer Jos´eBov´e
demolished a McDonald’s, attracting worldwide attention and national acclaim
for his denunciations of agribusiness, free trade, and la malbouffe,” a word he
coined that may be roughly glossed as “junk food” (Bov´e et al 2000, pp. 77–
84). The action of Bov´e and his collaborators was modeled in part on events
in India, where peasants in Karnataka destroyed a Kentucky Fried Chicken out-
let and ransacked facilities owned by the multinational seed company Cargill
(Gupta 1998). In North America, the Canadian National Farmers Union spear-
headed links with counterpart groups in Mexico and the United States in order
to influence the NAFTA negotiations (Ritchie 1996). In Central America, peasant
leaders forged contacts with European, Canadian, and Indian activists, created a
regional transnational lobbying organization, and played a major role in the for-
mation of a global small farmer network called the V
ıa Campesina/Peasant Road
(Edelman 1998).
civil society linking “transnational social forces animated by environmental con-
cerns, human rights, hostility to patriarchy, and a vision of human community
based on the unity of diverse cultures seeking an end to poverty, oppression, hu-
miliation, and collective violence” (1993, p. 39). Explicitly directed against elite
and corporate-led “globalization from above,” the multistranded opposition that
Falk described involved diverse sectors organizing across borders and raising con-
nections like those that small farmers made between livelihood, health, intellectual
property, environment, human rights, and the expanding dominance of suprana-
tional governance institutions. The Barbados meetings in the 1970s and after that
(Brysk 2000), the global women’s meetings sponsored by the United Nations in
the 1980s and 1990s (Alvarez 1998), the 1992 Earth Summit (Gupta 1998), the
NGO forums held in tandem with World Bank, International Monetary Fund,
(IMF) and Group of Seven Industrialized countries meetings, and a multitude of
similar events connected issues and activists in postmaterialist and identity- and
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class-based movements as never before (Adam 1995, Brecher et al 2000, Charlton
Just a few years ago, one of the foremost observers of this process could state
that the new internationalisms have been “subject to little strategic reflection”
and have “as yet little or no theoretical status” (Waterman 1998, p. 4). Appadurai
(2000) recently remarked that “the sociology of these emergentsocial forms—part
movements, part networks, part organizations—has yet to be developed” (p. 15).
Research on transnational organizing has, however, flourished in the mid- to late
1990s. Initially, it usually looked at organizations that crossed one or two ad-
jacent borders, such as issue-oriented binational coalitions of U.S. and Mexican
(Cunningham 1999), or anti-NAFTA coalitions (Ayres 1998). Increasingly, schol-
ars have examined globalization-from-below in terms of its antecedents, protest
repertoires, geographic reach, and theoretical and strategic underpinnings. Risse-
Kappen (1995) investigates how international governance structures legitimize
transnational activists’ efforts, increase their access to national polities, and bol-
ster their capacity to form effective coalitions. Smith et al (1997) analyze a wide
range of transnational activism and advance a broader project of relating contem-
porary organizing to previous cross-border efforts, earlier theories of collective
action, and debates about global governance. Waterman (1998) provides a subtle
discussion of emerging labor internationalisms, grounded in a thorough under-
standing of old working-class transnational solidarities. Keck & Sikkink (1998)
focus on transnational advocacy networks, which they distinguish from coalitions,
movements, and “civil society” by their “nodal” organization and their use of in-
formation, symbolic, leverage, and accountability politics. They employ a concept
of “network” that potentially includes social movements, but also media, unions,
NGOs, and intergovernmental and governmental organizations.
When the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign
to Ban Landmines and Jody Williams, the ICBL had to wait for nearly a year
to receive its half of the award money because it had no bank account and no
address and was not an officially registered organization anywhere in the world
(Mekata 2000). Acephalous, horizontal, loosely networked alliances, of which the
ICBL was emblematic, have emerged as major actors on the world scene and are
frequently said to have important advantages vis-`a-vis hierarchical organizations,
though all-embracing definitions of the term networkare common (Castells 1997),
more restricted interpretations are most revealing as regards concrete instances of
collective action. Among the most developed discussions of networks is the pre-
viously cited RAND study of the Zapatistas (Ronfeldt et al 1998). Distinguishing
between “chain,” “star” or “hub,” and “all-channel” networks, depending on the
degree and type of interconnection between nodes, the RAND authors are mainly
interested in developing a counterinsurgency strategy to replace 1980s “low-
nodes of a network converge on a target (as human rights NGOs did in Chiapas),
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
and “sustainable pulsing,” when “swarmers” coalesce, disperse, and recombine
for attacks on new targets (as in anti-Maastricht marches in Europe and, one sup-
poses,morerecent demonstrations in Seattle and elsewhere).According to RAND,
combating networks requires mimicking their form with interagency and multi-
jurisdictional cooperation. States seeking foreign investment are most vulnerable
to “netwar” campaigns that may damage their image or generate perceptions of
instability. Giant corporations that invest heavily in linking brand images to con-
sumer identities may be similarly threatened by informational campaigns, such
as the antisweatshop movement, that expose pernicious environmental and labor
practices (Klein 1999, Ross 1997).
Fox (2000) specifies with greater clarity than most theorists differences be-
tween transnational movements, coalitions, and networks, according to the extent
towhich theyengage inmutualsupport andjointactions andshareorganizedsocial
bases, ideologies, and political cultures (with movements united along the most
dimensionsandnetworks along the fewest).He cautions that althoughtheconcepts
are often used interchangeably and the categories sometimes blur, such analytical
distinctions are necessary to keep in view imbalances and political differences
within what might otherwise appear from the outside to be cohesive “transnational
movements.” Like Keck & Sikkink (1998), he is circumspect regarding hypothe-
ses about “global” civil society because in their “hard version” such assertions
suggest that changing international political norms and new technologies have
fundamentally and universally altered the balance of power between state and
Appadurai (2000) also points to the limited success that transnational networks
have had in “self-globalization” and attributes it to “a tendency for stakeholder
organizations concerned with bread-and-butter issues to oppose local interests
(Edelman 1998, Fox & Brown 1998). His assertion that networks’ greatest edge
vis-`a-vis corporations is that “they do not need to compete with each other” is
perhaps less persuasive because networks and their nodes collaborate even as they
vie for funding, supporters, and political access, and it is their loose, horizontal
structure instead that confers advantages over hierarchical organizations, as the
RAND group (Ronfeldt et al 1998) worries. Similarly, the notion that “one of
the biggest disadvantages faced by activists working for the poor in fora such as
the World Bank, the U.N. system, the WTO [World Trade Organization], [and]
NAFTA ... is their alienation from the vocabulary used by the university-policy
nexus” (Appadurai 2000, p. 17) is belied by a range of investigations from vari-
ous world regions that demonstrate levels of sophistication on the part of grass-
roots activists that sometimes exceed those of their elite antagonists (Edelman
1998, Fox & Brown 1998, Gupta 1998). Other power differentials, beyond purely
discursive ones, clearly skew contention between activists and these formidable
“Civil society”—“global,” “national,” and “local”—continues nonetheless to
generate considerable excitement and an outsized literature, most of it beyond
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
the scope of this article. Scholars have devoted extensive attention to the geneal-
ogy and boundaries of the concept (Cohen 1995, Comaroff & Comaroff 1999,
Walzer 1995), its Gramscian roots (Nielsen 1995), and—more germane in con-
sidering social movements—to conservative and progressive variants of “civil
society” discourse (Macdonald 1994, White 1994) and to the complicated rela-
tions between movements and other organizational forms which make up civil
society, particularly NGOs (Alvarez 1998, Edelman 1999, Fox & Brown 1998,
Gill 2000), but also political parties (Schneider & Schneider 2001). The key wa-
tershed in discussions from a wide variety of viewpoints and regions is the end
of the Cold War, which at times is attributed not just to the failure of centrally
planned economies to keep pace with informational and technological innova-
tions but also to civil society itself, either its rise in the East (Chilton 1995)
or its activities in the West (Tirman 1999). The end of superpower competition
opened political space not only in erstwhile socialist societies but also in capitalist
states where corruption and authoritarianism in political life could no longer be
justified by the struggle against international communism. Weller (1999) shuns
the term civil society as Eurocentric and insufficiently attentive to informal com-
munity ties in his examination of institutions in Taiwan and China “intermedi-
ate” between the state and family. He nonetheless develops a suggestive thesis
about how village temples and informal local associations, often led by women
and mobilizing around idioms of traditional Chinese culture, energized national-
level environmental struggles in Taiwan. He indicates that comparable groups on
the mainland already back underreported protest movements and could evolve
as components of a gradual process of democratization. Schneider & Schneider
(2001) trace the emergence of antimafia civic movements in Sicily, which they
locate in the expansion after World War II of urban, educated, outward-looking
social groups and the erosion in the post–Cold War era of an anti-Commu-
nist landowner-Christian Democratic–organized crime alliance. Like Weller, who
emphasizes the political polivalence of traditional Chinese institutions and the
significance of local practices in a rapidly changing national and international
context, the Schneiders demonstrate that the struggle to retake social space from
the mafia and its allies entails contention in neighborhoods, kin groups, work-
places, schools, and state institutions, as well as nurturing alternative civic sensi-
bilities and debunking assumptions about the ancient roots of the mafia in Sicilian
The end of the Cold War, while opening political space for all manner of civil
society initiatives, also brought accelerated economic liberalization and pressure
on welfare-state institutions in developed and developing countries. Even before
the fall of the Berlin Wall, during the free-market triumphalism that swept much
of the world in the 1980s, it became increasingly artificial to envision NSMs as
unengaged with the state. Indeed, fiscal austerity and draconian “adjustments”
in public-sector services made states key targets for forces seeking to safeguard
historic social conquests and prevent further rollback of healthcare, education,
housing, and transportation programs. It is by now commonplace to indicate how
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
globalization generates identity politics (Castells 1997), how attacks on welfare-
governance institutions (NAFTA, IMF, World Bank, WTO) are part and parcel
of each process (Ayres 1998, Ritchie 1996). It is less frequent to find analyses
that link these trends to the expanding movement against corporate power and
unfettered free trade which burst into public consciousness in 1999 during the
Seattle demonstrations and riots against the WTO.
At first glance the anti-free trade coalition of environmental, labor, and farm
activists would seem an unlikely combination of social forces, demands, and po-
litical practices. Brecher et al (2000) argue that an “epochal change” is occurring,
as disparate movements find common ground and press not just for new rights, but
for adherence by corporations, states, and suprastate institutions to generally held
norms. According to these authors,
the apparent opposition among strengthening local, national, and global insti-
tutions is based on a false premise: that more power at one level of gov-
ernance is necessarily disempowering to people at others. But today the
exact opposite is the case. The empowerment of local and national communi-
ties and polities today requires a degree of global regulation and governance
(p. 40).
Although duly cognizant of the divisions that afflict social movements, they
pointtosuccessful campaigns to secure debt forgiveness for underdeveloped coun-
tries, to derail the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment, to secure rati-
fication of a global climate treaty and a protocol regulating genetically engineered
organisms,and to stall the WTOMillenniumRoundasexamplesof howgrassroots
pressure may establish and enforce new norms of conduct that better balance the
public interest and special interests.
With a lucidity and empirical foundation far beyond anything by Habermas or
Melucci, Klein (1999) examines how market-based invasions of public space and
individuals’ “life-worlds” have become an impetus for anticorporate activism.
Global corporations’ outsourcing of production had allowed them to concen-
trate on branding and on efforts to insinuate brand concepts into the broader
culture via sponsorships, advertising, and “synergies” with the sports, arts, and
entertainment worlds. In North America and elsewhere, this was taking place
alongside privatization of services, forcing schools, neighborhoods, museums,
and broadcasters to turn to corporations for support, thus commercializing what
remained of the public sphere. Superstore-studded malls were reshaping commu-
nities into newly privatized pseudo-public spaces. Branding became so entangled
with culture, space, and identities that consumers increasingly felt bombarded and
The sudden media attention to anti–free-trade activism in the aftermath of the Seattle
demonstrations raises the question of the effectiveness of social movements’ use of disrup-
tive and violent versus moderate tactics, about which there has long been substantial debate
(Giugni 1999, Piven & Cloward 1977, Tarrow 1998).
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
complicit in and threatened by corporate wrongdoing. High-profile events in
1995–1996 that pitted environmental and human rights activists against some of
the world’s most powerful corporations—the “McLibel” trial of anti-McDonald’s
activists in England, Aung San Suu Kyi’s denunciations of labor conditions in
Burma, Nigerian Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution during the Ogoni people’s mo-
bilization against Shell Oil—led growing numbers to link particular problems
to a broader corporate assault on democracy, on communities, on cultural pro-
duction (concentration of culture industries, restrictions on artisanal foods), and
on the environment. The new willingness of established human-rights and envi-
ronmental organizations to protest corporate malfeasance further fed the “rising
bad mood” regarding transnational corporations and supranational governance
Recent writings on collective action suggest several areas of potential cross-
fertilization that could invigorate social movements research. Political process
and NSMs theorists could benefit from a greater sensitivity to the historical and
cultural processes through which some of their main analytical categories (frames,
submerged networks, movement culture) are constructed, as well as a more gen-
uine appreciation of the livedexperience of movementparticipants and nonpartici-
pants, something that is accessible primarily through ethnography, oral narratives,
or documentary history. Ethnographic analyses of social movements have been
most persuasive when they transcend the single-organization or single-issue focus
of much collective action research in favor of broader examinations of the polit-
ical and social fields within which mobilizations occur. Although ethnographers
have often provided compelling, fine-grained accounts of collective action, they
have been less consistent when it comes to developing dynamic analyses of ei-
ther the larger political contexts in which mobilizations occur or the preexisting
militant traditions and the organizing processes that constitute movements’ prox-
imate and remote roots. To anthropologists, some of the issues (rationality, free
riders) that continue to engross the grand theorists of contentious politics may
appear misplaced or peculiarly devoid of cultural content, but others of their con-
cerns certainly merit greater attention (cycles of contention, protest repertoires)
if anthropologists are to avoid reverting to their traditional disciplinary predilec-
tion for advancing ahistorical pseudo-explanations for phenomena with profound
historical roots.
The role of ethnography in the study of social movements has been significant
butseldomtheorized.Ethnographers—likehistorianswho workwithdocumentary
or oral sources—may have privileged access to the lived experience of activists
and nonactivists, as well as a window onto the “submerged” organizing, informal
networks,protest activities, ideological differences, public claim-making, fear and
repression, and internal tensions, which are almost everywhere features of social
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
movements. Some of these aspects raise questions that can be addressed only
though ethnographic or ethnographically informed historical research. Weller’s
(1999) study of how environmentalism emerged from local temples in Taiwan,
Whittier’s (1995) specification of how lesbian communes contributed to keeping
radical feminism alive in the 1980s, and the Schneiders’ (2001) attendance at rural
Sicilianpicnics where mafiosi and antimafiosifeastedtogether, uneasily awarethat
theywere antagonists in a largercultural-political struggle, are merely a fewexam-
ples of the kinds of processes available to ethnographic observersbutlargelyinvis-
ibleto those workingatatemporal or geographical distance fromtheactivitiesthey
are analyzing. As a collection of methods, however, ethnography alone—as tra-
ditionally conceived—is hardly sufficient for studying the deep historical roots or
wide geographical connections of most contemporary mobilizations. Nor does
ethnography necessarily innoculate researchers against the common pitfalls of
overidentification with the movements they study, accepting activist claims at
face value, or representing “movements” as more cohesive than they really are
(Edelman 1999, Hellman 1992).
If anything has distinguished anthropological, as opposed to other, students of
social movements, it may well be a greater preoccupation with the researcher’s
political engagement, from the “reinvented” anthropology of the early 1970s to
the “barefoot” anthropology of the 1990s (Burdick 1998, p. 181). For some, the
“committed” stance is an unproblematic matter of preexisting ethical-political
principles, as when one U.S. anthropologist—newly arrived in South Africa—
identified herself in a squatter camp as “a member of the ANC [African National
Congress]” (Scheper-Hughes 1995, p. 414). An astute scholar of rural Mexico
(Par´e 1994, p. 15) observes,
For many of us it turned out to be impossible to record acts of repression
and forms of exploitation and to witness the difficulties the peasant orga-
nizations had in making their voice heard without taking sides. ... Participa-
tion—whether directly in the organization, in advising groups, in collective
analysis with the organizations themselves, in negotiations, in publicity, in
solidarity, in communications, or in the government as a planner, functio-
nary or technician—necessarily implies taking a position, a “committed”
Ethnographers of social movements who share these sensibilities frequently
indicate that their own political involvement (Charlton 1998, Cunningham 1999,
Schneider 1995, Stephen 1997, Waterman 1998) or their location in groups per-
ceived as sympathetic or suffering a similar oppression (Aretxaga 1997, Hart
1996) is precisely what permits them access to activist interlocutors. Yet un-
problematic versions of this position potentially mask vital movement dynam-
ics and may even limit researchers’ political usefulness for activists. Real social
movements are often notoriously ephemeral and factionalized (Brecher et al 2000,
Tilly 1986), manifest major discrepancies among leaders and between leaders
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
and supporters (Edelman 1999, Morris 1999, Rubin 1997), and—probably most
important—rarely attract more than a minority of the constituencies they claim
to represent (Burdick 1998). To which faction or leader does the ethnographer
“commit”? What does that commitment imply about hearing dissenting or un-
interested voices or grasping alternative histories, political projects, or forms of
cultural transformation? If commitment is a sine qua non of social movements
ethnography, how are we to understand movements about which we do not feel
“intensely protective” (Hellman 1992, p. 55) or which we may, in fact, not like
at all?
The tendency of collective action scholars to focus on groups and organizations
with explicit programs for change is, as Burdick suggests, in effect an acceptance
“of the claim of the movement to be a privileged site in the contestation and
change in social values.” Elevating the question of lack of participation to the
same level of importance as mobilization, he charges that much “sociological
writing on the ‘freeloader’ problem ring[s] a bit hollow and even a bit arrogant
in its presumption ... that social movement organizational action is the only, or
best, social change game in town” (1998, pp. 199–200). In a candid account of
his efforts to place research findings at the service of his activist interlocutors, he
argues that accompanying a movement may, for the ethnographer, most usefully
entail “reporting the patterned testimony of people in the movement’s targeted
constituency who on the one hand held views and engaged in actions very much in
or marginalized by one or another aspect of movementrhetoric or practice” (1998,
p. 191). In order to accomplish this, though, it is not the movement itself that
becomes the object of study, but rather the broader social field within which it
operates (cf. Gledhill 2000).
The widening of social fields implied by the rise of transnational activism sug-
below. Over the past three decades, theorists have had to scramble to keep up with
therapidly evolvingforms ofcontentiouspolitics. Fromidentity-basedmovements
that allegedly eschewed engagement with the state, to mobilizations that targeted
neoliberal efforts to decimate social-welfare institutions, to more recent struggles
against corporate power and supranational governance and international financial
of the difficulty is recognizing transformative moments as they are being lived and
even whatcomprises “movementactivity.” The newanticorporate activism,for ex-
ample,employsan action repertoirethatcombinesdecidedlypostmodernelements
(informational politics, cyber-attacks, and “swarming”) with others that hark back
to early nineteenth-century forms of direct action, albeit with global rather than
local audiences (uprooting genetically modified crops, ransacking corporate fran-
dentthatunderstanding today’smobilizationswillrequirenewconceptionsofwhat
constitutes ethnography, observation, participation, and certainly engagement.
21 Aug 2001 16:33 AR AR141-13.tex AR141-13.SGM ARv2(2001/05/10) P1: GSR
Many thanks to Jimmy Weir and Susan Falls for research assistance, to the nu-
merous colleagues who provided bibliographical advice, and to John Burdick and
Khaled Furani for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this review.
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... The explanation above, according to Edelman, was strategy visibility and audibility (Edelman, 2001). Visibility refers to strategies so that his struggles can be seen and audibility so that his struggles can be heard by the public (Rijal & Anggraheni, 2019). ...
... In the context of the civil society strategy, what has been done above is part of the lobbying strategy (Edelman, 2001), by lobbying stakeholders so that government policies are in line with the BBPB vision. If visibility and audibility are bottom-up-oriented, then lobbying efforts are topdown. ...
... Collaboration also with the Merah Putih Hijau organization and Tasini organizations for campaigns in schools through educational booklets. By Edelman, this collaboration is part of a so-called networking strategy (Edelman, 2001), namely expanding networks with many actors who share the same vision. ...
... The explanation above, according to Edelman, was strategy visibility and audibility (Edelman, 2001). Visibility refers to strategies so that his struggles can be seen and audibility so that his struggles can be heard by the public (Rijal & Anggraheni, 2019). ...
... In the context of the civil society strategy, what has been done above is part of the lobbying strategy (Edelman, 2001), by lobbying stakeholders so that government policies are in line with the BBPB vision. If visibility and audibility are bottom-up-oriented, then lobbying efforts are topdown. ...
... Collaboration also with the Merah Putih Hijau organization and Tasini organizations for campaigns in schools through educational booklets. By Edelman, this collaboration is part of a so-called networking strategy (Edelman, 2001), namely expanding networks with many actors who share the same vision. ...
... Sindre: You are a long-standing and prominent contributor to what one may refer to as the anthropology of development and globalization. In the introduction to your co-edited 2005 Blackwell Reader (with Marc Edelman) entitled The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy To Contemporary Neoliberalism (Edelman and Haugerud 2005), you distinguish between "development anthropology, in contrast to the anthropology of development, [which] has been termed the work of practitioners who actually design, implement or evaluate programs of directed change, especially those intended to alleviate poverty in poor nations" and "anthropology of development [which] calls for a 'radical critique of, and distancing from, the development establishment'" (Edelman andHaugerud 2005: 40, citing Escobar 1997: 498). You go on to note, however, that "these distinctions are disputed." ...
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... While many quantitative empirical studies of advocacy success use the number of organizations within a country as a proxy for NGO strength, we know that the overall level of resources that can be tapped by these NGOs is critical for their success. Resource mobilization theory centers on this idea: the resources that civil society actors have at their disposal provide organizations power in their advocacy against governments and businesses (Jenkins 1983, Benford and Snow 2000, Edelman 2001). According to this theory, resources are not just material; legitimacy, human, and network resources can also be useful to an organization. ...
... When analysing the significance of these three developments for fishers' movements, they can be understood as strategies for broadening their political reach and influencing repressive social relations, which also provides broader insights into the emergence of transnational mobilization and movement engagement in contentious actions (Edelman 2001). At the global level, social movements require a high level of cohesion, shared collective identity, and horizontal exchange between active members, who often feel a strong connection with each other despite little direct contact. ...
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This article explores the politics of transnational fishers' movements, setting out to understand why and how they contest and seek to influence the politics of global fisheries. It focuses on two movements representing small-scale fishers, the World Forum of Fisher Peoples and the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, aiming to link the politics of such movements more directly with academic and political debates. The analysis is structured around three connected spheres: transnational movements engaging in the politics of global fisheries; contentious fisheries issues prioritized by the movements; and political spaces where movements participate.
... The rich literature on social movements has focused on theorising identity in relation to building community (Amit 2002, Anderson 2006, Tilly 2004, human agency and discursive processes framing development projects (Benford and Snow 2000), micro-processes of knowledge-making that make up organisational politics (Conway 2006, Escobar 1995, increasing transnational dimension of solidarity-building (Della Porta, Kriesi, and Rucht 1999, Edelman 2001, Piper and Uhlin 2004, and gendered logics in the discourses that frame organising principles (Ferree andMerrill 2000, Hasso 2001). Scholars have discussed mutual aid as offering the best models for building communities around sharing resources (Katz 1981, Steinberg 2010. ...
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#CommunityPantryPH is a mutual aid movement that began in the Philippines in April 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The movement is founded on the slogan ‘give what you can afford, take what you need.’ Instead of the movement receiving an overwhelming welcome, especially within conditions of food scarcity and health insecurity during the long-lasting pandemic, the Duterte government attacked volunteers with ‘red-tagging’ tactics—the malicious calling out of individuals as communists, which may result in harm both online and in real life to those red-tagged. The public response also circulated myths about the supposed indolence of Filipinos receiving aid and how the volunteers are fanning a culture of dependence among the poor. In this article, I introduce the concepts of ‘carceral memory’ and ‘colonial memory’ in understanding colonially inherited punitive, civilising, and self-deprecatory logics that have become embedded in postcolonial disciplinary regimes, and which suppress dissent and shape popular attitude and consciousness in the Global South.
... Beide zielen auf die Untersuchung interner Dynamiken ab. Edelman (2001) argumentiert, dass man gerade dann, wenn interne Dynamiken im Vordergrund stehen, Gefahr laufe, die historischen Wurzeln oder die weiteren geografischen Verbindungen aus den Augen zu verlieren (S. 310). Ergänzt wird der Blick auf das WSF deshalb durch die Frage nach dem Warum, wie sie auch aus Perspektive des Collective-Behavior-, des Relative-Deprivation-sowie des Politische-Strukturen-Ansatzes gestellt wird. ...
Drawing on the cases of Iraq and Sudan, it can be argued that the mobilization of economic, cultural, and organizational resources along with the concentration of state resources have led to the radicalization of Islamist parties' positions and political discourse. The concentration of resources was an incentive to reward loyalists, support hard‐line discourse, and target opponents by excluding them from political competition. This situation has helped develop a secular and national protest movement that does not believe in the change through elections and political–legal tools, but rather through protest and, in some cases, violent confrontations. However, this secular trans‐sectarian national movement still lacks the ability to mobilize alternative political, economic, and leadership resources to present a coherent and counter a vision for the ruling Islamist parties.
In order to contextualise the developments of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s women’s movement under neoliberalism, this chapter offers a summary of the movement’s history. It starts with the First Wave of feminism in Aotearoa/New Zealand leading to women’s suffrage. This is followed by an account of the Second Wave movement of the 1970s and early 1980s and a subsequent section to discuss the Third Wave movement that is divided into a narrative about state feminism and a summary of feminist activism outside state authorities. The Fourth Wave, finally, is more difficult to grasp, but this chapter discusses its distinctive characteristics and the topics the women’s movement was concerned with in most recent years.
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The purpose of this chapter is straightforward. The goal is to investigate the ways in which globalization has affected civil society, both within countries and transnationally. I refer to the latter as global civil society. Some others refer to it as transnational civil society.2
Investigating the complex interrelations between culture and politics in a wide range of social movements in Latin America, this book focuses on the cultural politics enacted by social movements as they struggle for new visions and practices of citizenship, democracy, social relations, and development. The volume explores the potential of these cultural politics for fostering alternative political cultures and social transformations. Theoretical and empirical chapters assess and build upon novel conceptions of culture and politics in a variety of disciplines and fields-particularly anthropology, political science, sociology, feminist theory, and cultural studies.The notion of the cultural politics of social movements provides a lens for analyzing emergent discourses and practices grounded in society and culture, the state and political institutions, and the extent to which they may unsettle, or be reinscribed into, the dominant neoliberal strategies of the 1990s. Contributors explore how social movements-urban popular, women’s, indigenous, and black movements as well as movements for citizenship and democracy-engage in the cultural resignification of notions such as rights, equality, and difference, thus altering what counts as political. By highlighting simultaneously the cultural dimensions of the political and the political dimensions of the cultural, the book transcends the distinction between “new” and “old” social movements and thus significantly renews our understanding of them.