Putting Social Movements in their Place

Putting Social Movements in their Place : Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the United States, 2000-2005

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The field of social movement studies has expanded dramatically over the past three decades. But as it has done so, its focus has become increasingly narrow and 'movement-centric'. When combined with the tendency to select successful struggles for study, the conceptual and methodological conventions of the field conduce to a decidedly Ptolemaic view of social movements: one that exaggerates the frequency and causal significance of movements as a form of politics. This book reports the results of a comparative study, not of movements, but of communities earmarked for environmentally risky energy projects. In stark contrast to the central thrust of the social movement literature, the authors find that the overall level of emergent opposition to the projects has been very low, and they seek to explain that variation and the impact, if any, it had on the ultimate fate of the proposed projects.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 13 b/w illus. 1 map 23 tables
  • 1139369229
  • 9781139369220

Table of contents

1. From Copernicus to Ptolemy and (hopefully) back again; 2. Comparing communities 'at risk' for mobilization; 3. Explaining variation in the level of opposition to energy projects; 4. Does opposition matter?: Mobilization and project outcome; 5. From not my back yard to not in anyone's back yard: the emergence of regional movements against liquefied natural gas; 6. Back to the future: returning to a Copernican approach to the study of contention.
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Review quote

'... Putting Social Movements in their Place makes significant contributions to the field. Eschewing the internal study of one movement for a more community-based and holistic appraisal of where and why movements begin is a fruitful move ... This book is valuable and often compelling and should generate other important research.' Elizabeth Long, American Journal of Sociology
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About Doug McAdam

Doug McAdam is Professor of Sociology at Stanford University and the former Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS). He is the author or co-author of 13 books and some 75 articles in the area of political sociology, with a special emphasis on the study of social movements and revolutions. Among his best known works are Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1970, a new edition of which was published in 1999; Freedom Summer (1988), which was awarded the 1990 C. Wright Mills Award as well as being a finalist for the American Sociological Association's best book prize for 1991; and Dynamics of Contention (2001) with Sid Tarrow and Charles Tilly. He is also the author of the forthcoming book, A Theory of Fields (with Neil Fligstein). He is a two-time former Fellow of CASBS, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003). Hilary Schaffer Boudet holds a PhD from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. Her research interests include the environmental and social impacts associated with energy development and public participation in environmental decision-making. Her dissertation focused on the factors and processes that shape community mobilization around proposals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford University School of Medicine/Stanford Prevention Research Center and a lecturer in the Stanford University Urban Studies program. She has published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Environmental Politics, the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management and Sociological Forum.
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