Friday, August 29, 2014

Myra Marx Ferree on Doctors and Demonstrators: How Political Institutions Shape Abortion Law in the United States, Britain and Canada,

A couple of weeks ago, the Collective Behavior and Social Movements section of the American Sociological Association held an Author Meets Critics session on the two most recent winners of the Charles Tilly Best Book Award, my book, Doctors and Demonstrators and Kathleen Blee's Democracy in the Making.  My critics were Myra Marx Ferree and Annulla Linder.  Myra's comments, below, echoed her earlier review in the American Journal of Sociology:

Doctors and Demonstrators: How Political Institutions Shape Abortion Law in the United States, Britain and Canada, by Drew Halfmann

Myra Marx Ferree, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 118, No. 4 (January 2013), pp. 1112-1114

Everyone knows that abortion is a highly polarizing, violently contested, ideologically central issue in U.S. politics. Understanding why this is so, and why it was not always this way, has spawned a huge literature, both scholarly and journalistic, scrutinizing the role of public opinion, social movement mobilizations, state and federal political competition, and the balance of judicial and legislative power. There is also a smaller but still substantial literature drawing comparisons between the highly contentious politics of abortion in the United States and more measured debates in other countries. Drew Halfmann’s own earlier work expanded this explanation by bringing in a consideration of the role of the medical profession and the financing of health care, and drawing a useful comparison between the way the United States organizes health systems and pays for medical procedures and how this is done in two other countries, Britain and Canada, that share our largely liberal view of government.

In Doctors and Demonstrators, Halfmann has greatly expanded his argument about the role of the medical establishment by placing its activities in a wider comparative institutionalist framework—one that now gives even more weight to the political institutions of each of these three countries. The title may still hark back to his original focus on how health care is managed, but along with more attention to social movements and their mobilizations, the new book actually gives more attention to the nature of political institutions in general. The apparent similarities of the United States, Britain, and Canada in terms of language, political culture, and religious mix of Protestant and Catholic, turn out to be dwarfed by vast differences in how parties and movements relate, how governments can or cannot control legislative agendas, how judicial decisions are framed, and again, centrally how health care is institutionalized, funded, and politically understood in these three countries.

The crux of Halfmann’s argument now is that political institutions— including the degree to which social movements can gain access to being part of a political party’s core constituency, the extent to which health care was institutionalized as a central government responsibility, and the ability of elected officials to control the political agenda—have had a huge effect in defining what kind of issue abortion is thought to be in the public mind, moving political parties toward or away from embracing it as an opportunity for electoral gain, and giving other institutional actors a stake in resolving it or keeping it as a burning issue. Health care is still central to his story. While the move to liberalize access to abortion in the “long 1960s” was a global phenomenon, the specific nature of the reforms implemented had much to do with doctors’ concerns about protecting their autonomy in different health-care systems and with the courts’ willingness to define health- care provision as a right of citizens. But Halfmann adds an emphasis on the specific ways that political parties are organized, candidates selected, and campaigns funded, and on how bills are introduced, debated, amended, and either allowed to die or not. In sum, Halfmann’s attention to the interplay between politics and political institutions is now expanded beyond the politics around health care, and the book is thus a much more generalizable and significant contribution.

As Halfmann shows convincingly, abortion is not necessarily defined as a critical issue of conscience and religion, even the Roman Catholic Church is less mobilized around it in the United Kingdom and Canada, nor is “taxpayer funding” always framed as a matter of deep religious significance. He offers carefully documented accounts of how U.S. religious actors were particularly motivated to engage the issue at a critical moment of party realignment as “amnesty, abortion, and acid” became, with race, the issues Nixon’s “Southern strategy” exploited and got the power they did from the opportunities that realignment offered. Halfmann also gives a clear and comprehensive account of how abortion moved in the United States from being an issue that divided the parties and from which politicians fled, which it remained in Canada and Britain, to one that small groups of highly committed actors on both sides could use to select, fund, and ultimately discipline candidates until parties fell into line. In short, the abortion issue offers Halfmann the opportunity to account for many of the ills that the U.S. system is manifesting across many other issues, and thus provides not only a comprehensive political history of the path the abortion issue followed but good indications of the sources of the havoc wreaked on U.S. decisions on other issues from climate change to tax policy.

Overall, the book offer a refreshingly unpolemic counter both to the tendency to see all political collapse as a matter of the global spread of neoliberalism and all abortion politics as a struggle between the forces of good and evil in the world. Halfmann uses his impressive command of the literature to offer a detailed and nuanced story of constrained change, where the institutional opportunities that vary across countries matter a great deal, but choices and strategies of individual actors—from Harry Blackmun to Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips to Tony Blair—give a sometimes decisive push in particular directions. The writing is clear and uncluttered, and advanced undergraduates should have no difficulty following the argument.

There are, of course, some omissions, the institutional structure of the media itself is ignored and racial impacts of both political campaigns and policy outcomes are slighted, and some flaws, the U.S. Affordable Care Act is treated as if it were actually being implemented rather than held up in the courts; the variation in actual abortion access in Canada is not conveyed, but on the whole this is a convincing account both of why U.S. women have lost much of the right to reproductive control that they thought they had won, and why British and Canadian women have gained more access and affordability over time and are now in a much better position relative to the United States than anyone would have imagined in the 1970s.

Anullla Linders on Doctors and Demonstrators: How Political Institutions Shape Abortion Law in the United States, Britain and Canada

A couple of weeks ago, the Collective Behavior and Social Movements section of the American Sociological Association held an Author Meets Critics session on the two most recent winners of the Charles Tilly Best Book Award, my book, Doctors and Demonstrators and Kathleen Blee's Democracy in the Making.  My critics were Myra Marx Ferree and Annulla Linder.  Here are Annulla's comments: 


Annulla Linders

CBSM 2014 Author-meets-critic session on Doctors and Demonstrators

Had this been an author-meets-fan session, my task would have been a lot easier. It’s a great book – ambitious, well-written, and deeply engaging – and a model of what comparative work can accomplish. In so many ways, this is a book I wish I had written myself.

The explanation he gives us of the differences and similarities among these three nations is complex and layered. There is no single variable that magically accounts for the dizzying array of sociopolitical action that has surrounded abortion – at least in the US – for the past 50 years. And yet, by focusing on institutional processes, at the precise intersection of social action and political systems, he nonetheless manages to deliver a clean and uncluttered explanation that is wholly satisfying to the reader.  

But since I am recruited to be a critic, I will do my best to live up to the expectations of that role. With the critic’s prerogative, I take some liberties with my comments, sometimes veering off the path Drew has laid out for us and occasionally moving into territories that may better belong in another book.

I focus the discussion on three issues: The first – I call it the boggle line - is linked to abortion as a sociological issue; the second – this one I call cliff hangers – relates to the volatility of abortion politics; the third, to quote one of my former colleagues, deals with the squuishi stuff, that is, meanings, values, interpretations, and the softer side of sociology. These issues are obviously much larger than this particular work, but Drew provides useful insights into all of them…It hardly counts as criticism to say he hasn’t provided the final word on any of them (if he had, what would the rest of us do J?)

The Boggle Line
If you read the opinion piece by anthropologist T. M. Luhrmann a few weeks ago in the New York Times, you may remember his reference to the “boggle line.” The boggle line captures the point at which things no longer make sense – the brain simply won’t compute it, it boggles us. We all have our individual boggle lines and cultures too have boggle lines beyond the noise of social variations and disagreements. And I think sociology also has its boggle lines.

When I came to the US some 30 years ago I was clearly boggled by the abortion mess I encountered. It wasn’t policy—abortion was legal after all. But the mess was seemingly everywhere: in the legislatures, the courts, the doctors’ offices, and on the streets. Why wasn’t it settled? Why was it so volatile, and why only in the US, and not in my native Sweden? It boggled me. And there was the beginning of my dissertation, a historical comparison of abortion politics in Sweden and the US (I threw capital punishment into the mix too, but that’s a different story).

Judging from the size of the literature addressing abortion in the US, I am clearly not the only one boggled. That is, for many of us, it is the US that consistently falls on the other side of the boggle line. And I think that’s how Drew sees it too. It’s not so that abortion is a non-problematic issue in other nations, but rather that abortion politics in the US is so much crazier. I cringe a bit myself when I say that – after all, I keep telling my students that they must treat both sides of an issue as sociological mysteries in need of explanation – and I tried hard as I was reading the book to turn the table and make Canada and Britain the cases that were boggling. But it’s a difficult exercise and, although Drew’s analysis is as evenhanded as may be possible, it is still an account that is designed primarily to explain abortion politics in the US.  

I don’t mean this as a criticism, on the contrary, but as sociologists it should give us pause. Obviously there is a long tradition in social science of approaching the US as an exceptional case, that is, a case that does not quite follow the logic of its western European siblings and hence needs different theories. Although Drew identifies a number of ways that abortion politics is different in the US, he still does not approach the US as a wholesale exception, and rightly so. And yet, it is the boggling US that drives the analysis, and it is to our understanding of abortion in the United States that Drew contributes the most.

Cliff Hangers
Social cliff hangers. Here I am thinking of close votes, last minute vetoes, judicial surprises, unstable and cross cutting coalitions. I also include the kinds of social minutia that invariably come to light when we start digging into the complex historical layers of sociopolitical issues (serendipity, coincidences, unique personal trajectories, and the like). Drew provides several different instances of such cliff hangers and historical minutia, which enrich the account and pull the reader into the volatile unfolding of events. Analytically speaking, though, it is not entirely clear what to do with such cliff hangers. Are they evidence that things could always have gone the other way? Do they signal that much of social life is a series of historical accidents? In short, what do we do with social cliffhangers?

Most commonly and in the big scheme of things, we often ignore—or gloss over – such minutia and instead focus on the larger trend, as if there were inexorable forces pushing social life in certain directions and moving it away from others. And I think most of us think of abortion in this way: it can really only go in one direction. Hence we find our puzzles where it stops, veers off its path, or even go in reverse direction.

Another way is to move away from explanations that emphasize the predictable character of social life and instead approach social life us fundamentally open-ended and unpredictable– it always could have happened another way.

Yet another way – and this is what Drew is doing in this book, and very nicely too – is to embrace them and try to account for them in ways that support his overall account.  Take the US Supreme Court, for example, which has delivered several abortion rulings over the years that qualify as cliff hangers. Pointing to factors that simultaneously infuse the judiciary with politics (political appointments) and dilute immediate political interests (lifetime appointments), Drew lays bare the process whereby the justices arrive at their decisions, including very surprising ones, like Roe v. Wade.

But it makes me wonder if there is yet another way we could approach cliffhangers, to think of them as social things in themselves, both in terms of form and trajectory. Although this is not where Drew’s analysis lingers, he nonetheless points us in a few directions that can help. For one, his analysis confirms the oft-cited observation that the US political system, because it is so porous, invites continuous conflict where other political systems more effectively close the door on conflict. For another, he shows how the timing and pace at which different social actors enter the debate can have profound impacts on the unfolding of social issues in the political process.

But I keep wondering if it could also be a feature of a particular set of issues that, for one reason or another, generate moral conflict, that is, pit one moral absolute against another. I don’t mean to suggest that some issues are inherently moral, but instead that the moralization of issues is a normal part of the democratic political process (even if more or less). And if so, as this book demonstrates very nicely, the passionate and volatile politics that surround them cannot be relegated to the edges of political analyses where they otherwise often reside. Rather, they are a particular and recurrent form of normal politics.

The Squuishi Stuff
Finally, what about the squuishi stuff? I am using this as an umbrella for things very loosely described as cultural. This is not a book about the culture of abortion politics, and Drew doesn’t claim that it is. Still, one of the great advantages of this book is that Drew does not ignore the importance of the cultural realm. This is so especially in his analysis of the medical profession in the three nations. He very effectively challenges theories of interest groups that link their interests to their objective social position and their success in the political market place to size and other measures of strengths. Instead, he insists, we need to be receptive to all the ways in which the larger social, political, and cultural context shapes how interest groups construct and prioritize their interests. There are times when I wished he had approached the interests of other political actors with the same analytical dexterity—feminist interests, for example, are not subject to the same kind of scrutiny—but the issue I want to address here refers to the  relationship between institutional processes and the interpretive realm, especially in comparative work.

I think of it as a challenge akin to translation. Whenever I am working on a paper involving a comparison of Sweden and the US I sit with a dictionary in my lap, trying to determine how to best translate key passages that capture the essence of what political actors claim. It is a difficult process not only for linguistic reasons, but also for reasons having to do with meaning. Things can mean different things, even when the words are the same.

What I am trying to get at here is not simply that “culture matters” – many of us here, including Drew, would obviously agree with that – but instead that comparisons that take culture seriously always face a translational dilemma not just in relation to the words that political actors use but also the larger sociocultural context that surrounds and penetrates institutional processes and practices. Even something as simple as “abortion on demand” does not mean exactly the same everywhere and certainly – as Drew clearly shows – does not give rise to the same institutional practices when it comes to delivery.

Although this is not the problem Drew set out to resolve, he still has given us some ideas for how to proceed. For example, in his discussion of the limitations of explanations of cross-national differences in terms of “national values” he observes that one the main contributions of the American creed to abortion policy “was the institutions that the founders left behind” (46). This suggests that institutions and the social processes they engender are saturated with meanings; that is, the cultural elements are not simply meat on the bone, so to speak, but part of the very bone structure itself. This observation should serve as a caution when we try to explain cross-national differences with the help of isolated structural or institutional features as if they were easily abstractable, if that’s a word, and hence comparable.  Drew also observes that although “values” “do not determine the content of policies” they do “provide a set of cultural resources for political actors” (45). This is a good reminder that even though we cannot predict with any certainty how political actors will use which of the cultural resources available to them, we know that they will always use some. It is an almost ridiculously simple point to end on, but I’ll do it anyway, since I think it is an important one: political actors cannot make claims, and policy makers not laws, unless they are culturally embedded in recognizable constellations of meaning. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Edwin Amenta and Drew Halfmann on Social Movement Influence

A couple of weeks ago, I moderated a panel discussion on social movement influence at the American Sociological Association meetings.  It was organized by Edwin Amenta and included Andy Andrews, Leann Banaszak and Tony Chen.  Our discussion was based on an essay that Ed published in Critical Mass Bulletin and responses by myself and Andy.  I've reprinted my essay below.

Drew Halfmann, Critical Mass Bulletin, Spring 2014

As Edwin Amenta notes in his recent Critical Mass essay, scholarly attention to the effects of social movements on social institutions (e.g. policies, the media, corporations) has increased dramatically and with exciting results since William Gamson first published The Strategy of Social Protest in 1975. Scholars such as Amenta, Marco Giugni, Doug McAdam, David Snow, Daniel Cress and Kenneth Andrews have steadily improved on Gamson’s work, and in the process, what began as a trickle of books and articles has now become a steady stream.

Amenta identifies three main approaches in this work: 1) The movement-centered approach focuses on the ways in which the internal characteristics of movements such as their organizational forms, resources, frames, and tactics increase their influence. 2) The political mediation approach focuses on the impact of “strategies in contexts,” examining, for example, the effects of assertive or less-assertive tactics in friendly or hostile legislative or bureaucratic environments. 3) The policy-centered approach attempts to explain particular social outcomes (usually policy outcomes) while keeping an eye on the role of social movements, examining, for example, the role of the abortion rights movement in the formation of abortion policies.

Amenta notes that each of these approaches has its strengths and weaknesses. Studies from the movement-centered approach often pay inadequate attention to contexts, overreach theoretically, and fail to specify appropriate scope conditions. Studies from the policy-centered approach often pay inadequate attention to movement resources, strategies and frames, underreach theoretically, and fail to apply insights from their own case to other similar cases. Finally, the political mediation approach is best suited to studying movements that have contended over long periods, using various strategies in various contexts and to varying effect.

These strengths and weaknesses suggest several best practices: scholars of particular movements or policy outcomes should ask themselves “What is this a case of?”; they should explicitly specify scope conditions; and they should avoid losing sight of either movement contexts or the internal characteristics of movements.

These strengths and weaknesses also suggest that it may be useful to seek hybrids of two or more approaches in order to maximize the strengths (and hopefully not the weaknesses) of each. Amenta locates recent work by Kenneth Andrews and Holly McCammon in the movement-centered approach, but I would argue that it is actually a hybrid of the movement-centered and political mediation approaches. As Amenta rightly notes, Andrews’ and McCammon’s work focuses on the internal characteristics of movements, but unlike earlier work in the movement-centered approach, it asks: which movement characteristics help movements to effectively match strategies to contexts? It thus draws strongly on the political mediation approach. For Andrews, strategic adaptability flows from strong infrastructure (based on leadership, organizational structure, and resources), and for McCammon, it comes from continuous activism, intra-movement tension, and a diverse constituency.

Another hybrid approach might combine the policy-centered (institutional) approach and the political mediation approach. It would ask: Which contexts best promote strategic adaptation by movements? Perhaps, polities and policy areas that are more democratic, more transparent, and more visible would provide movement activists with better signals and information that could aid attempts to adapt strategies to contexts. Such contexts might also provide a broader choice of strategies and tactics. In addition, polities or policy areas with large numbers of elite or movement allies might provide more information for strategic adaptation.  And finally, polities or policy areas with a diverse and vibrant movement sector might provide information for strategic adaptation as well as examples of new frames and tactics.

Finally, another opportunity for hybridity is suggested by Amenta’s observation that most studies of movement effects are case studies. Amenta urges comparative work, but also notes that reliance on case studies is not the end of the world, and even offers some benefits. He argues that the large and growing number of case studies should make it ever more possible for scholars to explicitly locate their own findings and theoretical arguments within a broad set of similar cases, and that to do so is highly desirable. At the same time, case studies allow scholars to attend to mutual causality, sequences, processes and mechanisms that are not readily amenable to regression analyses. I second this point and look forward to discussing the future of the exciting work on social movement effects at the special CBSM session at the ASA meetings in August.

Edwin Amenta and Andy Andrews on Social Movement Influence

A couple of weeks ago, I moderated a panel on social movement influence at the American Sociological Association meetings.  It was organized by Edwin Amenta and included Andy Andrews, Leann Banaszak and Tony Chen.  Our discussion was based around an essay that Ed published in Critical Mass Bulletin and responses by myself and Andy.  I've reprinted Andy's essay below. 

Kenneth Andrews, Critical Mass, Spring 2014

Over the past two decades scholars have published numerous articles and books on the consequences of social movements and many more are on the way! We have a strong and diverse set of studies across many different cases. As Edwin Amenta and his colleagues (2010) document, we know most about the political consequences of movements. However, scholars have made significant progress examining the economic consequences of movements (Bartley and Child 2011, Haveman, Rao and Paruchuri 2007, Ingram, Yue and Rao 2010, McDonnell and King 2013, Vasi and King 2012) and we will continue to see new work on social and cultural consequences as well (Bail 2012, Best 2012).

This is an ideal time to step back and assess the progress we have made to guide the next phase of research and theory on the consequences of movements. We lack a broader assessment of our progress to date and a useful roadmap for future studies. Edwin Amenta (2014) argues that there are several significant obstacles to gauging whether movements    matter including “the frequent ineffectiveness of movements, their many targets of influence, and the tendency to select influential movements to study”. Nevertheless, he notes that scholars have made significant progress by developing creative strategies to work around these problems, and he identifies three ideal types based on recent book length studies of movements and political change.

Here, I preview my comments for the upcoming ASA panel on "The Influence of Social Movements". I sketch four strategies for advancing the field: (1) develop stronger theoretical expectations regarding the pathways and mechanisms of movement influence and lack of influence; (2) seek variation within case studies across time periods and domains to delineate the scope of movement influence; (3) expand engagement with related disciplines and sub-fields; and (4) devote greater attention to interactions with and response by targets - not just structural characteristics of targets (as we tend to do now).

To make further progress in understanding the consequences of movements, we have to ask a fundamental question: what is our theory of how protest (and movements more broadly) matter? The answer to that question should be nested in broader questions about the sources and dynamics of social, economic and political change. Much of our work on the consequences of movements lacks a coherent answer to these questions. Collectively, there has been little effort to develop and test alternative models of movement influence. Instead, scholars take an available indicator of movement activity - typically, the number of events or organizations - and examine its direct or indirect relationship to political outcomes alongside other factors.

In practice, our most common measures of movement lack serious theoretical justification. For example, scholars often consider the number of protest events or the presence of movement organization. Why would elites, authorities and other actors be influenced by the count of events? Most of our important theoretical expectations have little to do with the sheer number of events - but about other characteristics. For example, we might consider many other characteristics such as change in the amount of protest, big events, disruptive events, unusual events, or media covered events – to name just a few possibilities. If protest influence operates through sending signals or imposing costs on elected leaders, then there is minimal reason to expect aggregate protest levels to influence aggregate behavior or protest targets. Instead, we should expect protest to matter depending on its relationship to specific targets. So, what expectations should we have? Stepping back, we need to identify alternative models about how movement influence occurs. Elsewhere I have distinguished among three major patterns that I refer to as persuasion, access, and disruption (2001, 2004). These models differ with regard to the primacy of framing (which may appeal to cognitive or moral arguments), routine interactions with authorities, and costliness as mechanisms of influence.

Second, scholars should continue to seek variation within case studies across time periods and domains. As Amenta (1991) has argued, this is a strategy for "making the most of the case study" and has been the central logic of recent studies of movement influence. Movement scholars tend to focus on the positive consequences of movements, but this may mask where movements are having limited influence or even having negative consequences. For example, in my work on the legacy of the civil rights movements, I found that local activism had a negative impact on school desegregation through its impact on white counter-mobilization. In recent studies of local environmental groups, my collaborators and I identified key organizational characteristics that enhanced visibility; however, most groups gain minimal attention in the media and have little impact on their communities (Andrews and Caren 2010, Andrews et al. 2010). More careful analyses of variation within cases can help us delineate the scope of movement influence.

Another way to improve our understanding of movement influence is through greater engagement with related disciplines and sub-fields. If, as scholars of social movements, we risk over-emphasizing the significance of movements, engaging with historians, political scientists, economists, communication scholars, and others will lead us to make broader arguments and guard against overestimating the significance of activism. This feature characterizes the best work on the political consequences of movements where scholars have drawn on broader theories of the policy process and tested alternative explanations. Recent scholarship on the economic consequences of protest also shows the payoff of linking social movement theory to other strands of theory and research - economic sociology and organizational studies, in particular.

Finally, I argue that our analyses of movement influence need to pay greater attention to interactions with and the responses of bystanders, counter-movements, and targets. This will lead us to conceptualize influence as embedded in sequences of interaction. Most of our theoretical models and analytic strategies emphasize structural characteristics of targets (e.g., presence of allies, available access points). To the extent that we pay attention to strategy, we focus on activists rather than the broader actors that movements interact with. Moving in this direction has important theoretical and methodological implications. For example, scholars would need to spend more time interviewing non- activists and collecting archival materials outside movements. More fundamentally, studying interaction would require better data on the temporal ordering of events. Some areas of movement scholarship have made greater progress in studying sequences such as the study of repression (Almeida 2003, Gillham, Edwards and Noakes 2013), and some scholars studying movement influence have already moved in this direction (McCammon et al. 2008). Moreover, historical sociologists have developed useful strategies for examining sequences of interactions, and movement scholars could benefit from actively borrowing and modifying these approaches.

Almeida, Paul D. 2003. "Opportunity Organizations and Threat-Induced Contention: Protest Waves in Authoritarian Settings." American Journal of Sociology 109(2):345-400.

Amenta, Edwin. 1991. "Making the Most of a Case Study: Theories of the Welfare State and the American Experience." International Journal of Comparative Sociology 32:172-94.

Amenta, Edwin, Neal Caren, Elizabeth Chiarello and Yang Su. 2010. "The Political Consequences of Social Movements." Annual Review of Sociology 36:287-307.

Amenta, Edwin. 2014. "How to Analyze the Influence of Movements." Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 43(1):16-29.

Andrews, Kenneth T. 2001. "Social Movements and Policy Implementation: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty, 1965-1971." American Sociological Review 66:71-95.

Andrews, Kenneth T. 2004. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Its Legacy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Andrews, Kenneth T. and Neal Caren. 2010. "Making the News: Movement Organizations, Media Attention, and the Public Agenda." American Sociological Review 75:841-66.

Andrews, Kenneth T., Marshall Ganz, Matthew Baggetta, Hahrie Han and Chaeyoon Lim. 2010. "Leadership, Membership, and Voice: Civic Associations That Work." American Journal of Sociology 115(4):1191-242.

Bail, Christopher A. 2012. "The Fringe Effect Civil Society Organizations and the Evolution of Media Discourse About Islam since the September 11th Attacks." American Sociological Review 77(6):855-79.

Bartley, Tim and Curtis Child. 2011. "Movements, Markets and Fields: The Effects of Anti- Sweatshop Campaigns on Us Firms, 1993- 2000." Social Forces 90(2):425-51.

Best, Rachel Kahn. 2012. "Disease Politics and Medical Research Funding: Three Ways Advocacy Shapes Policy." American Sociological Review 77(5):780-803. doi: 10.1177/0003122412458509.

Gillham, Patrick F, Bob Edwards and John A Noakes. 2013. "Strategic Incapacitation and the Policing of Occupy Wall Street Protests in New York City, 2011." Policing and Society 23(1):81-102.

Haveman, Heather A., Hayagreeva Rao and Srikanth Paruchuri. 2007. "The Winds of Change: The Progressive Movement and the Bureaucratization of Thrift." American Sociological Review 72:117-42.

Ingram, Paul, Lori Qingyuan Yue and Hayagreeva Rao. 2010. "Trouble in Store: Probes, Protests, and Store Openings by Wal-Mart, 1998–2007." American Journal of Sociology 116(1):53-92.

McCammon, Holly J., Soma Chaudhuri, Lyndi Hewitt, Courtney Sanders Muse, Harmony D. Newman, Carrie Lee Smith and Teresa M. Terrell. 2008. "Becoming Full Citizens: The U.S. Women's Jury Rights Campaigns, the Pace of Reform, and Strategic Adaptation." American Journal of Sociology 113(4):1104- 47.

McDonnell, Mary-Hunter and Brayden King. 2013. "Keeping up Appearances: Reputational Threat and Impression Management after Social Movement Boycotts." Administrative Science Quarterly 58(3):387-419. doi: 10.1177/0001839213500032.

Vasi, Ion Bogdan and Brayden G King. 2012. "Social Movements, Risk Perceptions, and Economic Outcomes the Effect of Primary and Secondary Stakeholder Activism on Firms’ Perceived Environmental Risk and Financial Performance." American Sociological Review 77(4):573-96.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Davis Faculty Association offers Critique of draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy

The UC Davis Blue Ribbon Freedom of Expression Committee has drafted a campuswide freedom of expression policy and is soliciting input. The draft policy is available online at:

http://manuals.ucdavis.edu/200-75draft.htm

(The above page also lists methods for members of the community to provide feedback, including a series of forums.)

In response, the DFA board has submitted the following letter:

-----------------------------------

Dear members of the Blue Ribbon Freedom of Expression Committee:

The Davis Faculty Association has grave reservations concerning the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy. While the DFA recognizes the importance of maintaining an environment in which the core educational and research missions of the campus can flourish without undue disruption, this must be balanced against the equally important goal of encouraging and protecting open discussion and debate. Indeed, this is an absolutely essential part of the functioning of the university as a crucible for the development and testing of new ideas. The current document fails to properly balance these two considerations, nor does it follow recommendations from both the Senate Special Committee on Freedom of Expression Report and the Robinson-Edley Report to discuss civil disobedience as a particular category that has brought about beneficial changes.

Specifically, the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy (i) opens by paying lip service to the right of free expression, but fails adequately to follow up and affirm those rights in a positive way in its subsequent articles; (ii) contains a disturbingly long litany of restrictions on free speech. Of the seven subsections, A-G, in the "Policy" section (section II), five explain and defend *restrictions* on freedom of expression. So does the entire content of section III. Many of these restrictions are so vaguely worded that they seem likely to apply to virtually any sort of campus gathering.

That this document unduly emphasizes the restriction of freedom of expression strikes the DFA as especially inappropriate and ironic given the Pepper Spray Incident of November 2011. In that event, and its emotional aftermath, UCD students exercised their rights to freedom of expression with a truly amazing dignity and concern for safety of others. Given that history of responsible student conduct, the tone and content of this document are puzzling.

The DFA urges that this document not be adopted, and, instead, be recast in a way which more accurately reflects the rights and protections for free expression which are so valued on a university campus, as well as the history that UCD students have in the responsible and safe voicing of their opinions.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Prop 30 About to Fail: Needs Student Support

The latest polls show that Prop 30, Governor Brown's measure increasing taxes to support education (including higher education), is likely to fail without increased student mobilization.  Many college students are voting against it because they think it applies only to K-12 education and don't realize that huge tuition increases are imminent if the measure fails.  Michael Meranze has more details.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Our rivers are full of fish! #Romney


"No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead."

The Louisville Courier-Journal on Dewey's 1948 campaign against Truman.  How could they know that Mitt Romney had been born the year before?

Haven't posted much this summer--working on a new book on African Americans and the welfare state--but I couldn't resist this one!