Social Movements

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For completed Social Movements projects click here.

Collaborative Research: Further Strengthening Qualitative Research through Methodological Innovation and Integration: Explaining the Newspaper Coverage of Social Movements

Neal Caren-PI. To understand social movements and the politics of the disadvantaged, one needs to understand social movement and political advocacy organizations (SMOs) and their media coverage. SMOs provide critical resources to seek social change, help to construct political identities and interests, allow challenges to survive hard times, and provide sites for and spur civic engagement. Scholars agree that the attention of the mass news media is critical to challengers. Although scholars have generated important data on SMOs, until this NSF-funded project there has been no big empirical picture of any aspect of the rise, decline and persistence of SMOs across movements and over time. In this renewal of two previous NSF grants, we seek to update, expand and complete the collection of new data on articles in which national U.S. SMOs appear in newspapers. In previous NSF-funded research, the Political Organizations in the News (PONs) project collected the population of article mentions of more than 1500 SMOs in four national newspapers (the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times) across the twentieth century. This data set of approximately one million articles has been employed to address empirical questions and provide mappings regarding the most covered movements and SMOs in U.S. history; to test theories of movements and movement outcomes through fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analyses and negative binomial regression analyses; to address why some organizations rather than others gained extensive coverage in the LGBT movement; and to address why an SMO received substantive coverage. As before, we plan to synthesize negative binomial regression analyses and formal qualitative methods, notably fsQCA. This set-based mode of analysis avoids technical problems multiple interactions cause for regression analyses, while retaining all relevant information and providing significance testing.

Comparing Movement Campaigns and Outcomes; Civil Rights and Desegregation in the US South

Kenneth “Andy” Andrews–PI. Why do some social movements succeed while others fail to bring about enduring social and political changes? This study examines the dynamics and consequences of local civil rights campaigns that challenged segregated public facilities in the U.S. South from 1960 to 1964. Many Southern cities experienced substantial desegregation of lunch counters, hotels, theaters and other establishments prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but these accomplishments were uneven across time and localities. By collecting systematic data on approximately 80 cities that experienced sustained civil rights activities in the early 1960s, we examine the impact of protest characteristics and movement organizations on desegregation. We also consider alternative explanations that focus on political opportunities (e.g., less resistance by whites) and the economic vulnerabilities of local businesses to the demands of protesters.

Collaborative Research: Combining, Augmenting, and Analyzing Social Movement Data at Different Levels with Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, 1960-1995

Neal Caren–PI. Newspapers are one of the most prevalent data sources for scholars interested in social movements. Whether the academic interest is in protest events or social movement organizations (SMOs), scholars very often rely on data culled from newspapers to answer their questions. This project merges two existing, influential, datasets on social movements, both of which were originally funded by the NSF and both of which were culled from newspapers. The two datasets are the Dynamics of Collective Action dataset (“DoCA” collected by Soule, Olzak, McCarthy, and McAdam) and the Political Organizations in the News dataset (“PONs” collected by Amenta and Caren). Beyond the merge, we will also collect additional data on key attributes of the social movement organizations and the political environment in which they operate. The end result will be three datasets (1) a comprehensive, longitudinal, dataset on nearly 7,000 SMOs operating in the US between 1960 and 1995; (2) PONs data that is augmented with protest event data from DoCA; and (3) DoCA data that is augmented with SMO coverage data from PONs.