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Lecture 11

SOCB30H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Herd Mentality, Collective Identity, Resource Mobilization

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Jennifer Chun

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SOCB30 Week 11 Notes
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What is a social movement? How do social movements challenge exclusionary and
discriminatory forms of citizenship?
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Black Lives Matter: one of the most important contemporary social movements
happening today. It’s a call to action for all people to recognize that institutionalized
murder of black bodies especially men can no longer be tolerated. Too many people
murdered by police that should protect citizens without any punitive consequences.
Guardian Article: It’s diversified beyond the people who attend protests, the people who
are creating these websites and the people who were tweeting and getting media
coverage. Hate on Beyoncé after super bowl because of her militant guard, dancers
wearing beret associated with the black panthers and her hair is curly and not smooth.
She’s celebrating that she’s black and connecting to the strength of the black lives matter
movement. Kendrick Lamar and his Grammy performance as well. Black lives matter
successful in promoting its demand, which is accountability on the state police around the
repeated and perpetuated ongoing murders of young black youth and getting the attention
of pop stars.
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USA Today Article: The black lives matter protest shut down the trump protest in
Chicago. The protesters were chanting Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics of Alight. The backlash
starts. “Black Lives Matter protesters may help elect Donald Trump president, just as
their predecessors did for Richard Nixon.” Protests are about educating the public and
trying to get the public onside to an oppositional social movement.
BDS: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is one of the most significant international
movements happening today. It started in 2005 by civil society groups in Palestine who
issued a campaign for economic pressure against Israel to end institutional apartheid and
racism. A boycott so not traveling to Israel, no academic exchanges and not even frequent
cafes that have links to the Israel state.
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BDS at U of T: This was largely pioneered in the struggle against apartheid in South
Africa. It was quite successful in mobilizing international support to sanction the
apartheid in South Africa regime and in trying to end racial apartheid. The graduate
students organized a talk about why the graduate student union thought it was important
to start a local BDS chapter at U of T and that protest was shut down by the opposition.
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The opposition being pro-Israel groups that are supported by transnational organizations
that are really trying to contest this social movement strategy.
CBC News: Even though Justin Trudeau isn’t like Harper in being so closely aligned with
Israel when it comes to Palestine, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly last
month to condemn any BDS effort in Canada. High stakes contestation that erupts over
social movements.
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Idle No More movement: Chief Teresa Spence was a really visible leader for this
movement. They wanted to repeal provisions of Bill C45, which included changes to the
Indian Act and Navigable Waters Act. It was about challenging the discriminatory aspects
of the Indian Act. Demands for decolonization. Like the Black Lives Matter movement, a
web presence is important for circulating what the movement is about. This movement is
trying to frame it as a peaceful movement. Indigenous protesters, especially when talking
about occupation, construction of pipelines and extraction of natural resources, are
always constructed in the media as violent. Even in their social movement tactics, you
can see the importance of emphasizing this idea of peaceful protesters, a peaceful
movement. Although you frame a movement as peaceful, you will still experience
backlash. Chief Spence really feared that the movement, even if it didn’t include
aboriginal first nations’ youth and off reserve schools, would have backlash. Social
movement leaders are thinking of this larger landscape of whether or not their tactics and
strategies will backfire.
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Beyond random acts of protest: Why do people engage in protests that can have negative
consequences for people? Protests are a common form of expressing your discontent.
Social movements are beyond that one off act of expressing popular dissent. Social
movements are conscious and purposive collective action. It’s important to disentangle
how the media portrays our movements and common sense and how we actually have to
analyze them as a political institution or event. Media likes to portray people who
participate in social movements as unfortunate fringe or people who are prone to violence
or not willing to engage in deliberative democracy. Social movements composed of
ordinary people and different kinds of social change organizations that have a range of
politics. Social movements are organized, sustained, purposive challenges to a defined
target. Who’s the target? State, corporation, can be any range of institutions.
Social movements: thought of as a constellation of events over time. It’s not a one off
protest but a series of things that happen among different groups and different places that
are organizing collectively around similar sets of demands and often use similar protest
tactics. Those tactics are called repertoires of collective action. Charles Tilly, a sociologist
for theorising social movements, when we think of a definition of social movement, it can
be conservative or reactionary. Tilly is trying to define a scope of what we include in
social movement. If following Tillys model of social movement, you’d look at specific
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