Author: Mobilizing Ideas

Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contract, and Exoticism in Modern America: A Review

By Erin M. Evans Ph.D. One of the joys of specializing in social movements is that so many of my colleagues are personally invested in activism on a grounded level. Most of us study movements because we care about social justice and want to understand how change happens, or doesn’t happen. There are positives and negatives to this. We have a passion for rigorous research, but this passion can bias our work. Also, feeling detached and isolated within the “ivory tower” can create an academic existential crisis, especially for scholars who want to somehow benefit the movements they study.  For these reasons, I chose to review Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America, by Henry Yu (2001). It’s a theoretically driven historical account of Asian American studies in the Chicago School’s Sociology Department. […]

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Pride Parades: How a Parade Changed the World: A Review

By Jonathan Coley This month, LGBT people in cities across the U.S. are celebrating Pride Month. Two weekends ago, Chicago, the city where I write this review, hosted its “Pride Fest” full of concerts, drag shows, and (of course) partying. This past weekend, the city hosted its annual pride parade, a three-hour procession comprised of nearly every LGBT sub-group you could imagine and parent groups, churches, business, and politicians that support the LGBT community. An estimated one million spectators lined the streets to watch the parade.

For as long as LGBT people have organized pride parades and related celebrations, people have debated these events’ true purpose: do pride parades advance LGBT activists’ political goals? Do they move the LGBT community closer to cultural equality? Or are they simply excuses to party? […]

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The Life of Lines: A Review

By Chris Hausmann Ph.D. Summer is a good time to read The Life of Lines. The book will urge you to see summer’s events—from brewing storms clouds and burrowing worms to rattling box fans, as central to theory-building.

This book might seem like an odd recommendation on Mobilizing Ideas; it includes only occasional references to political mobilization. What it offers, instead, are stunningly detailed insights into how living beings entangle one another and with their surroundings. This specificity is a useful reminder of what falls through the cracks when we talk and write about collective action; it also gives a glimpse of what how our theories could move forward. To understand the entanglements of living, Ingold argues, one must learn about lines. […]

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Strangers in Their Own Land: A Review

By Ana Velitchkova
As a newcomer in the South and a returnee to what seemed to be a new United States, I was eager to understand this new environment. Why were there so many people supporting a presidential candidate like Donald Trump? How has a fringe movement like the Tea Party become mainstream? Strangers in Their Own Land unquestionably provides answers. Its author, Arlie Russell Hochschild, a Berkeley sociologist known for ethnographies like The Managed Heart and The Second Shift, was interested in just that: understand a worldview that was foreign to her own too. Hochschild ventures into this worldview through a narrower question, understanding how people devastated by environmental disasters in Louisiana would end up supporting candidates whose goals include the elimination of the EPA, the very agency tasked with preventing such disasters.

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Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest: A Review

By Alex Hanna In 2011, as Egypt’s Tahrir Square filled with throngs of newly minted activists, New York’s Zucotti Park with the echoes of the mic check, and the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison with heart-shaped signs and singing teachers, speculation about what spurred this wave of protest events was shared by pundits and academics alike. […]

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