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Epstein’s Cultural Revolution Are These “New Social Movements”? To What Extent Do These Cases Conform to Tarrow’s Model? Theoretically? New Social Movements?

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Presentation on theme: "Epstein’s Cultural Revolution Are These “New Social Movements”? To What Extent Do These Cases Conform to Tarrow’s Model? Theoretically? New Social Movements?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Epstein’s Cultural Revolution Are These “New Social Movements”? To What Extent Do These Cases Conform to Tarrow’s Model? Theoretically? New Social Movements? Cultural Revolution? Methodologically: Participant Observation –Advantage of insider’s perspective and depth of “rich detail” –Limits of breadth in case study –Issues of Validity and, Especially, Reliability –Getting in and Getting Out

2 Applying Tarrow to Epstein’s Survey (Chapter 1) Epstein appreciates political repression and opportunities of 1930s and 1960s But she does not appreciate cyclical nature of opportunities and problem of maintaining challenge during doldrums –Failure due to organizational, tactical, theoretical limits of Sixties (p. 52) –Lovejoy views problem as lack of community base in Sixties (p. 62) –Epstein sees declining opportunities after Vietnam but sees Women’s movement as new base for mobilization (p. 49) –She seems to believe that organization, frames, and tactics can create opportunities

3 The Clamshell Alliance Problems faced by Clams –Lack of community-based network of supporters –Lack of organization to mobilize supporters –Lack of opportunity/support in pro-nuclear/anti-regulatory U.S. Clam alliance: hippy-farmers, Boston anarchists, New England Quakers –Mobilized effectively –Could not be sustained Police problem with civil disobedience and org w/o leaders but learned to use lock-outs and divide and conquer –Rath proposal co-opts soft claims –Prepared to repress hard clams Powerful enemies, few friends, limited opportunities –Clams followed cycle from disruption to convention (couldn’t do violence) Looks like Tarrow’s Cycle

4 Epstein versus Tarrow Epstein fuels critique of Tarrow? Tarrow can accommodate Epstein? Prospects for Synthesis? How might any of this help you in your project?

5 Epstein Challenges Resource Mobilization Theory RM baffled by “prefigurative politics” and “symbolic protest” (pp.123-4) RM theory ignores the cultural and the experiential Need to bring Culture back in Need to recognize that political protest is fun Goals of solidarity versus influence Search for community –New movements lack community base: national versus local –Class and community (life and work) have become alienated

6 Epstein’s Critique of Marx No longer relevant in 1970s: outdated notion of proletarian revolution Collapse of Soviet Union ( ) marks complete failure of Marxism New Social Movement theory might offer hope but lacks support/guidance that Marxism provided Hard for American (U.S.) students to appreciate –- importance of Marx’s theory of revolution –How it continues to dominate research on the subject (see Gould 1995, cited in Tarrow)

7 A Little Marx and Marxism Capitalism, feudalism, slave societies all rooted in exploitation of labor Falling rate of profit Accumulation of misery Crises of overproduction: October 1929, global crisis predicted by Marx But rise of proletariat repressed, preempted, coopted by state Corporate liberalism, New Deal, Fordism Gramsci and Neo-Hegelian Marxism Problem with post-Marx Academic Marxism –Focused on explaining nonevent: lack of revolution –Tend to blame victim: false consciousness Problems of Practical Marxism (pre and post soviet collapse) –Revolution without industrial proletariat –The peasant problem –Communism in a capitalist world system

8 Ways in Which Marxist Classes Matter 1. Movements are segmented by class: within environmental, women’s, and black movements there are contradictory class interests that create organization and mobilization problems 2. We can expand “relations of production” to include “relations of reproduction.” The alienation of productive and reproductive relations and interests generates organization and mobilization problems and also affects the nature of social movements. In fact, the birth of social movements in the nineteenth century occurred as production and reproduction became alienated, as capitalism and state-making appropriated the means of production and the surplus products that might have sustained local (community based) production and reproduction

9 Ways in Which Marxist Classes Matter (continued) 3.We can use expressed interests (as Tilly does) but recognize that there are organization and mobilization problems in inter-class alliances (see point 1, above). These tend to produce factionalism or consensus movements (or both), SMOs, and culturally embedded interest groups of lobbies (MADD and anti- smoking). At the extreme these movements may be organized from above (by political parties/lobbies—pro-life? Or by government—DARE. In any case, they are less effective in producing social change (see McNall, Schwatz and Wolfson) 4.Even these consensus movements (e.g., environmentalism) have class-based opponents (e.g., developers and building industry or logging industry trades).

10 Epstein’s Conclusions Resource Mobilization cannot explain new movements New Social Movement theory and “three way debate about value and meaning (p.252) Need Gramscian hegemonic movement that reaches lower and middle thirds of population (who are these folks?) Need community building and lobbying for more consensual, participatory democratic politics But how can we get there? Direct action strong on values as they impinge on praxis but weak on strategic vision (p. 267) Part of the problem: direct action movements eschew violence, tend to avoid conflict, and are loath to accept the practical need for political power. The search for consensus is a laudable utopian goal, as is anarchic sensibility, but this makes it all but impossible to seize power


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