Other Research and Writing About Protest & Social Movements
“Emerging Trends in the Study of Protest and Social Movements.” Pamela E. Oliver, Jorge Cadena-Roa, Kelley D. Strawn. Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 11. Betty A. Dobratz, Timothy Buzzell, Lisa K. Waldner, eds. Stanford, CT: JAI Press, Inc. 2003. Abstract: Four trends in the study of social movements are identified: a case base expanding beyond the social reform movements of Europe and Anglo-America to encompass other regions and types of movement; a theoretical synthesis that integrates protest with institutional politics and focuses on mechanisms and processes rather than causes and effects; a growing focus on events as units of analysis; and increasing integration of social psychological and cultural theories of social construction with structuralist accounts of movements. Taken together, they promise theory that is both broader in scope and better able to address the diversity of social movements.
Oliver, Pamela E., and Hank Johnston. 2000. “What a Good Idea! Ideologies and Frames in Social Movement Research.” Mobilization 5:37-54.
Abstract: Frame theory is often credited with “bringing ideas back in” social movement studies, but frames are not the only useful ideational concepts. The older, more politicized concept of ideology needs to be used in its own right & not recast as a frame. Frame theory is rooted in linguistic studies of interaction, & shows how shared assumptions & meanings shape the interpretation of events. Ideology is rooted in politics & the study of politics, & points to coherent systems of ideas that provide theories of society coupled with value commitments & normative implications for promoting or resisting social change. Ideologies can function as frames, they can embrace frames, but there is more to ideology than framing. Frame theory offers a relatively shallow conception of the transmission of political ideas as marketing & resonating, while recognition of the complexity & depth of ideology points to the social construction processes of thinking, reasoning, educating, & socializing. Social movements can only be understood by linking social psychological & political sociology concepts & traditions, not by trying to rename one group in the language of the other. 53 References. Snow and Benford’s Response. A reply to David A. Snow & Robert D. Benford’s comments (2000) notes that the article was intended to provoke dialogue & revive theorizing about the relation between ideology & frames. Snow & Benford object to use of the noun frame, rather than the verb framing even though most research in the framing perspective does the same. The noun-verb distinction is at the core of their other criticisms, & it is argued that the noun is an interpretive frame described as a cognitive structure, while the verb describes framing processing as unique entities. The noun moves the framing process forward & does not detract from the knowledge that “all social life is emergent, negotiated, & contextual.” The notion that framing as an activity is more observable than ideology is contested, & new methodologies are examined, eg, story grammar analysis, that hold promise for enhancing both the frame/framing & ideology perspectives.
“From Local to Global: Anti-Dam Movement in Brazil.” Rothman, Franklin Daniel, and Pamela E. Oliver. 1999. “From Local to Global: The Anti-Dam Movement in Southern Brazil, 1979-1992.” Mobilization 4:41-57.
A case study of the antidam movement in southern Brazil shows how particular local mobilizations are linked to national & global economics, politics, & social movements. In the early stages, the progressive church was the predominant influence & was largely responsible for framing the key issue as peasants’ right to land, while Left intellectuals contributed a class analytical frame. After 1988, the weakening of the regional power company (ELETROSUL), crisis of the Left after the fall of the Berlin Wall, defeat of the agrarian reform movement, rise of national & international ecology movements, & antidam movement’s need for a broader political & financial base all contributed to the adoption of a broadened & more proactive land/energy/ecology frame & an alliance with international environmentalism.
“Bringing the Crowd Back In: The Nonorganizational Elements of Social Movements.” Pamela E. Oliver. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change; 1989, 11, 1-30. Abstract: Social movements are exceedingly complex phenomena encompassing the actions of organizations & their members as well as the actions of nonmembers in activities that organizations have nothing to do with, & many even oppose. Crowds & diffuse collectivities are important parts of social movements. An understanding of social movements is sketched here that integrates their organizational & nonorganizational elements & the relations among them, & views them as large, complex sets of collective events oriented toward a general social change goal. Actions can affect the likelihood of other actions by creating occasions for action, altering beliefs, or adding knowledge. The effects of one nation on another are filtered through communication networks & the mass media. Giving attention to how actions affect other actions permits greater understanding of the dynamic processes involved in the growth of widespread social movements.
“Mobilizing Technologies For Collective Action.” (Pamela Oliver and Gerald Marwell) In Aldon Morris and Carol Mueller, editors, Frontiers of Social Movement Theory. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1992.
This paper concerns the problem of mobilization: how activists go about getting other people to make contributions of time or money. It considers the decisions of both activists and nonactivists. Time and money are structurally different as mobilized resources. The mobilization of money leads to the world of professionalized activism. The mobilization of volunteers leads to the world of routine and social reciprocity. Both have limitations, and both impose constraints on strategies of goal-attainment.