Books and Articles
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Resources for Learning More about Social Movements and Culture
Chapter 10. Reflections on the Cultural Study of Social Movements
Buechler, Steven. Social Movements in Advanced Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Offers a rich synthesizing theory of movements that explores at once the “political economy and cultural construction of social activism.”
d’Anjou, Leo. Social Movements and Cultural Change: The First Abolition Campaign Revisited. New York: Aldine, 1996. Uses the first British antislavery campaign in the eighteenth century as a test case for explorations of the social construction of meaning via social movements.
Darnovsky, Marcy, et al., eds. Cultural Politics and Social Movements. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995. See especially introduction and essays by Esoffier, Sturgeon, Szasz, Darnovsky, and Mayer and Roth.
Eyerman, Ron, and Andrew Jamison. Social Movements: A Cognitive Approach. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991. Reconceptualizes both American and European social movement theory via a sociology of knowledge approach to “movement intellectuals” and collective actors engaging in “cognitive praxis.”
Fantasia, Rick. Cultures of Solidarity: Consciousness, Action, and Contemporary Workers. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. Takes an innovative look at the subcultures created by workers in unions, on the shop floor, and outside the job. His concept of cultures of solidarity connects in interesting ways to the idea of movement cultures.
Gamson, William A. “Political Discourse and Collective Action.” International Social Movement Research 1 (1988): 219–44.
Goodwyn, Lawrence. The Populist Moment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. Contains one of the earliest and most interesting elaborations of the concept of movement culture.
Johnston, Hank, and Bert Klandermans, eds. Social Movements and Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995. The first anthology of theory dedicated fully to the topic of cultural approaches to social movement theorizing. See especially the editors’ introduction and essays by Swidler, Melucci, Lofland, Gamson, Fine, Taylor and Whittier, and Lofland.
Krasniewicz, Louise. Nuclear Summer: The Clash of Communities at the Seneca Women’s Peace Encampment. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992. Uses postmodern ethnographic techniques to contrast the movement culture of the peace camp with the surrounding conservative upstate New York community.
Laraña, Enrique, Hank Johnston, and Joseph Gusfield, eds. New Social Movements: From Ideology to Identity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994. Offers theoretical overview of social movements in terms of three broad dimensions: the cultural roots of movements, the emergence and development of movement cultures, and the cultural consequences and impacts of movements. See especially essays by McAdam; Gusfield; Melucci; and Hunt, Benford, and Snow.
McAdam, Doug, and Mayer Zald, eds. Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Part III on framing is of greatest relevance, and McAdams’s essay on CRM dramaturgy is especially suggestive.
Melucci, Alberto. Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Melucci, a key theorist of “new social movements” in Europe, offers his most sustained analyses here of the symbolic-semiotic nature of contemporary movements. Includes both general theory and application to a number of recent movements.
Morris, Aldon D., and Carol McClurg Mueller, eds. Frontiers in Social Movement Theory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988. This collection is a key transitional volume indicating the beginnings of a shift toward greater interest in cultural matters in social movement theorizing. See Mueller’s introduction and pieces by Gamson, Taylor and Whittier, Snow and Benford, Friedman and McAdam, and Morris.
Young, Alison. Femininity in Dissent. New York: Routledge, 1990. Analyzes press coverage of the Greenham Common women’s peace camp in England using a feminist poststructuralist approach that has interesting implications for issues of cultural framing of movements.
Young, Stacey. Changing the Wor(l)d: Discourse, Politics, and the Feminist Movement. New York: Routledge, 1997. Analyzes existing historiographies of second-wave U.S. feminism and existing social movement theory, noting their inadequacy vis-à-vis cultural-discursive dimensions. Then, drawing concepts judiciously from postmodern theory, offers a case study of cultural production within the movement.
Social Movements and Culture. Includes dozens of links to movements and movement research, bibliographies, a glossary of movement theory terms, course syllabi, and more.