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

$21.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics

  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107650312

$ 21.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • 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 20 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 to have 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.

    • Instead of studying social movements, studies communities 'at risk' for a movement, seeking to explain the factors that account for whether or not the community mobilized in the face of the environmental threat posed by the project
    • Makes use of a highly innovative set of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze twenty cases
    • Includes a critical 'sociology of knowledge' analysis of the origin, development and current state of the field of social movement studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Drawing on rich case studies of environmental siting decisions, Putting Social Movements in their Place provides a compelling and persuasive argument for studying local episodes of contention. Although citizens rarely mobilize to oppose siting decisions, local opposition is surprisingly influential at blocking unwanted environmental sitings when it does occur. McAdam and Boudet show that protest and movements are one part of a much broader field of economic and political action. This agenda setting study will lead scholars to think more critically about where mobilization occurs and (where it doesn’t) and inspire research that traces the complex dynamics of local policy-making and conflict.”
    Kenneth T. Andrews, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    “Putting Social Movements in Their Place launches a revolution in the study of social movements, shifting the focus from the usual preoccupation with instances of successful mobilization to the examination of communities that are at risk for emergent collective action. The goal of explaining why mobilization occurs in some at-risk communities and not others enlarges the research frame and mandates consideration of a broad spectrum of political actors and processes in each locality. In essence, Doug McAdam and Hilary Boudet have provided a new template for research on mobilization, addressing how and why collective action emerges where it does, and how the conditions of its emergence impact its success.”
    Charles Ragin, University of Arizona

    “Doug McAdam and Hilary Boudet provide a most readable and unique empirical study on the role of public opposition mobilization in determining the fate of large development projects. Their new approach to social movement research focuses not on the movements themselves, but on project outcomes. By effectively articulating the role of social movements in relation to other factors affecting results, such as the local political economy, public policies, and intervening events, they masterfully put social movements in their place.”
    John Randolph, Virginia Tech, author of Environmental Land Use Planning and Management and (with G.M. Masters) Energy for Sustainability

    "… 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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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107650312
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus. 1 map 23 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • 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.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Energy Policy
    • Energy Policy and Politics
  • Authors

    Doug McAdam, Stanford University, California
    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 Boudet, Stanford University, California
    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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