Corporatisation of universities and restructurings of K-12 schooling in the United States occurred during a period of broad economic, social and political restructurings, which have transformed the lives of middle-class Americans. Community and individual level investments in education are frequently represented as antidotes to increased insecurities confronting these subjects. This paper draws upon my interactions within both the school system and the university in which I work to explore how such practices continue to make sense to students, parents, and policy makers despite the lack of evidence demonstrating that such strategies overcome declining economic security and to suggest possibilities for alternative practices to produce collective mobilisations against inequality.
Stacy M. K. George
embraced at Tea Party meetings, thereby producing group solidarity, commitment, and participation despite the party’s secular composition. Culture, Religion, and Collective Action For decades, scholars have attempted to describe the impact of religion and
Collective Action and Subjective Power in the Greek Anti-Austerity Movement
Atalanti Evripidou and John Drury
Greece has been one of the countries which most severely suffered the consequences of the global economic crisis during the past two years. It has also been a country with a long tradition of protest. The present paper reports a study in which we examined the ways in which people talk about subjective power and deal with the outcome of collective action in the context of defeat. Subjective power has recently become a prominent field of research and its link to collective action has been studied mainly through the concept of collective efficacy. The current study explored questions based on recent social identity accounts of subjective power in collective action. We examined participants’ experiences of subjective power before and after Mayday 2012, in Greece. Two different collective action events took place: a demonstration against austerity and a demonstration to support steel workers who were on strike. In total, 19 people were interviewed, 9 before the demonstrations and 10 after. Thematic analysis was carried out. Protest participants talked about power in terms of five first-order themes: the necessity of building power, unity, emotional effects, effects of (dis)organization, and support as success. The steel workers we spoke to experienced the events more positively than the other interviewees and had different criteria for success. Theories of collective action need to take account of the fact that subjective power has important emotional as well as cognitive dimensions, and that definitions of success depend on definitions of identity.
Protest and Disorder after the Global Crash
Joseph Ibrahim, Bob Jeffery and David Waddington
While the first of these issues concentrated on the riots in England following the global financial crash of 2008, this second issue focuses on the social movements that emerged in this context. Whilst defining a social movement is conceptually problematic- either because it could be so narrow to exclude, or, to broad to include, any type of collective action, there are certain features that we can point to. Edwards (2014: 4-5) provides four conceptual distinctions.
Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino
When we think about protest, we often associate it with the notion of organized social movements, but studying organized movements only captures a small part of the realities of social protest. Dissent often takes alternative forms, and can be studied from myriad angles. The articles in this issue offer different perspectives on social protest, examining the roles of small activist collectives, organized policing efforts, local private politics, digital communities, and revolutionary vanguards in instances of collective action and political behavior.
In current and future situations of trans-global crises, social dissent and related practices of resistance cut across conventional country boundaries. Expressions of dissent and resistance pursue change through unconventional practices not only to challenge current governance, but to re-invent participation. They seek to impact society by transforming acquired values, subjectivities and knowledge. Despite these transformations of people’s subjectivities, majoritarian theories examining social movements still focus on finding rational patterns that can be instrumentalized in data sets and produce generalizable theoretical outcomes. This paper problematizes how social theory makes sense of collective action practices on the ground. Everyday non-discursive practices prove productivity-led theories' increasing disengagement with their object while challenging the excessive bureaucratization of scientific knowledge (Lyotard, 1997). That is, people experiment collectively with their capacities, and create their own initiatives and identities which do not follow determined patterns but do-while-thinking. The dichotomist approach of majoritarian debates in collective action theory is critically analysed by introducing the work of ‘minor authors’ and ‘radical theorists’. The fundamental purpose of this paper is to open a discussion space between the field of social action theories and activism knowledge, hence encouraging the creation of plateaus that blur academic boundaries and construct new subjectivities beyond “the indignity of speaking for others” (Deleuze in Foucault et al., 1977. p. 209). Drawing on the experience of the 15th of May 2011 in Spain, I analyse how radical theory reflects on current movements and collectives."
The coal industry exercises a pervasive influence upon mining communities in Appalachia even though it makes minimal contributions to employment. Miners rarely participate in movements that fight against coal companies for better working conditions. One explanation for this paradox is the depletion of social capital. In this article, I first use the existing body of literature to build a theoretical framework for discussing bonding social capital. Second, I analyze how the United Mine Workers of America in Harlan County, Kentucky at the beginning of the twentieth century worked to generate social capital. The results show that these coalfield residents demonstrated a high degree of social capital in terms of a strong shared sense of reliability and a dedication to collective activities and intimate networks. The union during that period engaged in strategies that were instrumental in creating this high level of social capital: holding regular meetings, organizing collective actions, promoting collective identity, and electing charismatic leaders.
Lessons from Collaborative Research on Sanctuary in the Changing Times of Trump
Sara Vannini, Ricardo Gomez, Megan Carney and Katharyne Mitchell
We reflect on the experience of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between scholars in the fields of geography, anthropology, communication, and information studies, and suggest paths for future research on sanctuary and migration studies that are based on interdisciplinary approaches. After situating sanctuary in a wider theoretical, historical, and global context, we discuss the origins and contemporary expressions of sanctuary both within and beyond faith-based organizations. We include the role of collective action, personal stories, and artistic expressions as part of the new sanctuary movement, as well as the social and political forms of outrage that lead to rekindling protest and protection of undocumented immigrants, refugees, and other minorities and vulnerable populations. We conclude with a discussion on the urgency for interdisciplinary explorations of these kinds of new, contemporary manifestations of sanctuary, and suggest paths for further research to deepen the academic dialogue on the topic.
The post–Great Recession, zombielike resurrection of neoliberalism has taken much of Europe and the United States on a hard-right detour into a twilight zone of populist nationalism, where far-right critiques of the status quo resonate more deeply with the white working class than leftist analyses. As rising fears of cultural eclipse, economic decline, and elite resentment drive the appeal of right-wing nationalists in the United States, Europe, India, and beyond, what role should intellectuals, and especially anthropologists, play in countering the creeping authoritarianism and growing inequality of our times? What kind of leverage can intellectual labor have on social reality? How can intellectuals broaden the boundaries of political possibility so that progressive, transformative collective action becomes imaginable?
Connective Agency and the Aesthetics of the Egyptian Revolution
During and immediately after the Egyptian revolution of 2011, the creative impulse that accompanied social and political demands shifted toward a collective sense of regained agency, or “connective agency.” The spontaneous acts of mobilization, artworks from found objects, street performances, the reshaping of slogans and chants into sustained musical composition—these all tap into cultural memory, offering radical and socially cementing modes of communication. The agency of this artistic expression and collective action lies in the production of ama¯ ra forms: the specifically Egyptian cultural practice of producing signs and narrative tokens of shared identity and fate, in this case in a socially transformed public sphere. My reflections here move from the political to the aesthetic, from the return of the people through collective and solidaristic action to the forms of resonance and of connective agency that such actions have evinced.