Intersectional Politicization: A Facet of Youth Activists’ Sociopolitical Development

Conner, Jerusha O., Johnnie Lotesta, and Rachel Stannard. 2022. Intersectional politicization: A facet of youth activists’ sociopolitical development. Journal of Community Psychology, 1– 20. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22941 This article explores the sociopolitical development (SPD) of youth activists involved in climate justice and gun violence prevention movements. Interviews with 52 youth members of five different youth-led activist organizations and follow-up surveys supplied the data. We found that involvement in youth-led activist organizations facilitates a particular kind of SPD we term “intersectional politicization.” Intersectional politicization involves critical intersectional reflection paired with critical intersectional action. Critical intersectional reflection entails analysis of how marginalized populations are impacted by particular social problems and how various social issues and forces of oppression interconnect. Critical intersectional action consists of participating actively in multiple movements or activist organizations to address distinct issues simultaneously. Intersectional politicization is fostered through organizational trainings and programming, collaborative work with other organizations, dialog with fellow activists, and online activist content. Intersectional politicization raises new considerations for research on critical consciousness and youth SPD.

Organizing a Weak Anti-Prison Movement? Surrogate Representation and Political Pacification at a Nonprofit Prison Reentry Organization

Mijs, Jonathan J.B. 2022. “Organizing a weak anti-prison movement? Surrogate representation and political pacification at a nonprofit prison reentry organization.” Race and Space (Research on Social Movements, Conflicts and Change) 46: 87-107. The nonprofit sector has come to deliver the majority of state-funded social services in the US. Citizens depend on nonprofit organizations for these services, and nonprofits depend on government for financial support. Scholars have begun to ask important questions about the political and civic implications of this new organizational configuration. These questions have direct ramifications for the anti-prison movement given the explosive growth of nonprofit prison reentry organizations in recent years. To see how such organizations may impact political engagement and social movements, this chapter turns its focus on the intricate dynamics of client-staff interactions. Leveraging a yearlong ethnography of a government-funded prison reentry organization, I describe how such organizations can be politically active and at the same time contribute to their clients’ political pacification. Staff members engaged in political activities in surrogate representation of their clients. While staffers advocated on their behalf, clients learned to avoid politics and community life, accept injustices for what they are, and focus instead on individual rehabilitation. By closely studying what goes on within a nonprofit service provider, I illustrate the nonprofit organization’s dual political role and its implications for social movements and political change.

Social conflict on the front lines of reform: Institutional activism and girls’ education in rural India

Mangla, Akshay. 2021. “Social conflict on the front lines of reform: Institutional activism and girls’ education in rural India.Public Administration and Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/pad.1959. How do states realize social reforms for marginalized groups in settings of entrenched inequality? This article argues that reform implementation is a conflict-ridden process driven by the institutional activism of street-level bureaucrats. Through an ethnographic case study of Mahila Samakhya, a novel government program for women’s empowerment in Uttar Pradesh, India, I find that local fieldworkers committed to reform promoted girls’ education by mobilizing marginalized citizens and mediating local conflicts. Organizational processes of gender-based training and deliberation enabled fieldworkers to challenge village patriarchy and exclusion and forge programmatic ties with lower caste women. By altering rules to address the practical needs of households, fieldworkers effectively integrated disadvantaged girls into the education system. Institutional activism also engendered conflicts over rules within the bureaucracy, prompting senior officials to advocate for marginalized groups. The findings suggest that institutional commitment to activism is critical for agencies working on the front lines of reform.

Protest Waves and Social Movement Fields: The Micro Foundations of Campaigning for Subaltern Political Parties

Almeida, Paul, Eugenion Sosa, Allen Cordero Ulate, and Ricardo Argueta. 2021. “Protest Waves and Social Movement Fields: The Micro Foundations of Campaigning for Subaltern Political Parties.Social Problems. https://doi.org/10.1093/socpro/spab012. The paper examines the individual-level building blocks of getting out the vote (GOTV) for electoral parties that represent subaltern sectors in resource scarce environments. Drawing on theories of protest waves, social movement fields, and threat-induced collective action, we examine the likelihood of campaigning in left party electoral mobilization and party identification. The study implements a modified version of the Caught in the Act of Protest: Contextualizing Contestation (CCC) survey protocol and respondent selection design. We use a sympathy pool sample of over 1,200 May Day participants in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras to explain the micro-foundations of electoral proselytizing of political parties advocating for disadvantaged populations. We found that involvement in left party electoral campaigning was largely driven by resources deposited during anti-neoliberal protest waves, including prior movement-type protest, civic organizational activity, and economic threat perceptions. Campaigning for the anti-neoliberal party was also associated with a higher level of post-election party identification. The findings suggest that left parties may at times partially overcome economic and political resource deficits by mobilizing individuals deeply embedded in the social movement field.

Not-So-Secret Weapons: Lebanese Women’s Rights Activists and Extended Family Networks

Stephan, Rita. 2019.  “Not-So-Secret Weapons: Lebanese Women’s Rights Activists and Extended Family Networks.” Social Problems, Volume 66, Issue 4: 609–625 This study asks one crucial question: How do Lebanese women apply available social capital and informal social networks to engage in political activism for women’s rights? Building on social- and women’s-movement theories, I argue that Lebanese feminists do not exclusively operate in the public sphere in their fight for political goals, nor do they privilege only the extra-family space. On the contrary, they engage in political activities by using extended family networks as a form of weak social ties. I construct this argument on the basis of interviews, observations, and analysis of Lebanese feminists’ writings. This paper introduces the concept of mahsoubieh as a form of weak social ties generated within connective family networks. Specifically, I examine how elite, intellectual, and middle-class Lebanese women activists use the positive social capital generated by mahsoubieh to gain credibility, diffuse their political stances, and develop countervailing power. Aspects such as the size, reputation, and respectability of their kinship networks aided the Lebanese women in their fight to change the legal structure concerning women’s rights and political representation.