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Lecture 7

Sociology 1020 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Direct Democracy, Todd Gitlin, Social Movement Organization

Course Code
SOC 1020
Kim Luton

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Tutorial 07 – Questions
Reading: Todd Gitlin, “Occupy’s Predicament: The Moment and the Prospects for
the Movement.” The British Journal of Sociology vol. 64, no. 1 (2013)
1. Are you persuaded that economic inequality has been growing in recent
years, during the “Great Divergence”? How important an issue is this, in your
2. Is the Occupy movement’s casting of the battle lines – in terms of the 99%
versus the 1% -- a meaningful way to approach this issue? Does it make
sense to talk in terms of a movement of the 99%? Is this too diverse a group
to organize effectively?
3. According to Gitlin, the movement married “18th-century constitutional
principle enshrining the value of public assembly with 21st-century methods
(social media, text messages and the like) for summoning such assembly” (p.
11). On this basis:
a) Why does Gitlin place such stress on the right of peaceable assembly? To
what extent has the movement’s success depended on the reactions of such
authorities as the police?
Peaceable assembly to be perceived as respectful
Reaction of police angers public
Police perception of demonstration
Interpretation of First Amendment and what is communal goal
First stone = violent demonstration
b) What has been the contribution to social movement organization, in this
case as well as others, of the new forms of electronic communication?
A lot easier to organize large amounts of people, easy to spread the
message, no longer constrained by distance, enables quick updates
etc of information regarding movement. Social media = safe haven of
free speech
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