Mini MegaBlog

Here are highlights from blog post’s for our April 26 class (there were only 2…).


Nathalie draws connections between COINTELPRO in the United States and Pinochet’s government in Chile from 1973 – 1998.  She finds similarities and differnces between them.  For instance, they both instilled terror in their opponents.  However, torture was more prevalent in Chile.  She postulates that COINTELPRO was perhaps involved with Pinochet’s order to assassinate Letelier.  She asks why Chile’s torture was more widespread than the U.S. when both governments had similar intentions and a similar level of ‘red scare’.  In reference to the McPhail, Schweingruber and McCarthy piece’s section on political and legal environment, she compares the nationalized and centralized forces in Chile to the decentralized system with many checks and balances in the United States.


Pamela writes a book report on “The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom” by Evgeny Morozov.  I will be writing a summary of her summary of the book…isn’t it frustrating for authors when we whittle down hundreds of pages in to summaries of summaries?

Morozov is arguing that in order for the Internet to fulfill its promise to aid in the fight against authoritarianism, Westerners must ditch the cyber-utopianism and Internet-centrism that add up to what he calls ‘net-delusion’.  He talks about the Google Doctrine as “the enthusiastic belief  in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistible urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom”.  He claims that just because there is a vibrant Internet culture and the government is censoring the Internet, that does not mean a regime’s collapse is imminent.  To summarize the next section I will take a quote directly from her book report, “Western policy makers should, Morozov argues, rid themselves of the illusion that communism came to an abrupt end or that simply because people were watching it was guaranteed to be a peaceful end at that.”  She includes a great image for the next section.  The next section looks at cultural contradictions when it points out that the West, as well as countries like Iran, engages in looking over their citizens’ shoulders using the Internet.  The next chapter serves to warn against obsessing over the Internet’s possibilities because many technologies are often overly-praised and then they do not deliver because we are only thinking about them in terms of today.  Additionally, policy makers need to know that the Internet can be used for good and bad before progress can be made.  In the end Morozov, and Pamela, end by talking about cyber realists who “would focus on optimizing decision making and not get swept away by the abstract discussions about the capabilities of technology to change the world” (quote from Pamela’s book report).

Culture, Media and Women

On Marco Giugni’s piece.

I saw his focus on cultural impacts and long-term indirect impacts as incredibly valuable points!  While reading his piece I was yet again reminded of the book I read for my book report, Power in Movement.  In it, the author writes that movement outcomes are rarely as radical as they were intended to be.  This is because the movement’s claims are get filtered through the mainstream and through the government.  The book argues that if a movement wants a policy change, by the time it comes around, the original desired change will have been diluted.

Politics is important.  Not for each individual piece of legislation or politician that slides across the marbled steps of a capitol building, but for the precedent that it sets for populations to come.  In a similar way, movements are so crucial for their ability to provide “fertile ground for what could come later.”

I initially thought that the Giugni piece and the Pastor, Ito and Rosner piece were in conflict with one another.  One emphasizes the long-term indirect cultural change while the other emphasizes present measurements.  However, when I got more deeply in to the parts describing measurements of transformation, I realized they complement each other.

This piece talks of new media as an add-on (high-tech does not equal high touch).  With new media developing rapidly, can these thorough metrics keep up with it?

I also have a question about who the audience is and what comes after a document like this?  When and how does it get put in to effect?

I recently read an article by Jael Silliman about NGOs.  She wrote about how the importance of receiving funding (and showing accountability) ends up driving NGO actions and behaviors more than their initial mission.  She warns about the co-optation of NGOs and writes about how some people are pushing back against the heavy-business-oriented efforts of NGOs.  Furthermore, some governments get too involved with NGOs and interfere too much with their missions.  Networks have formed among NGOs and lead to complications because of the centralization of decision-making and monopolization of resources that occurs.

Measuring movements and measuring NGOs are two different tasks yet they are related.  I could not help connecting the two readings and get concerned about some of the emphases that the metrics paper made on evidence for funding.  Some of my concerns were addressed, for instance on page 8-9 one participant is quoted as saying that it is the “mission that determines the path – not the metrics.”

Finally, I would like to ask the question, “What is a women’s movement?”

Is it different and if so, how?  How is it characterized?  How are men involved?  Is the way you measure outcomes different?  The readings talk about the impacts on the individual activists involved in movements.  So how would a women’s movement impact individuals differently or similarly?  Can part of the measurement of transactions and transformations include women specifically?

This site lists some successful women’s movements from 2011.  However, I would argue that these are not each movements but are individual instances that are perhaps part of a broader women’s movement.  Successful instances (according to this site from the Global Fund for Women) from all over the globe include:

Uruguay on the Cusp of Legalizing Abortion

Gender Equality Cemented into Moroccan Constitution

Egyptian Court Bans Virginity Tests

European Women Win Domestic Violence Treaty

Originally posted on khkern:

One article that I chose to read, “Occupy Wall Street: Return of a Repressed Res-Publica” by Wendy Brown, asked why the Occupy movement started when it did.  There were opportunities in 2008, 2009 and 2011 for it to come in to existence.  However, the Arab Spring coupled with the Obama’s administration to deliver on the hope his campaign had promised to bring were the catalysts for Occupy (with the recession intensifying the movement).  It argues that now more than ever people are identifying with each other and rather than being divided by the policies and income inequalities that attempt to separate populations, we are coming together.  The article claims that Occupy “has revived the classical image of the nation as res-publica, the nation as a public thing.”  

One of the most interesting parts of the article for me was the section that talked about how depoliticized our vernacular as…

View original 559 more words

Thoughts on Berkman Workshop

Great to hear about Occupy in comparison with other movements to get me geared up for the project!

I am fascinated by the cleavages within movements and the diverse composition of movements.  One participant was explaining the composition of OccupyPhilly. He said that there are some people there who identify as Quakers.  However, not all Quakers are there supporting the movement.  Therefore it is difficult to generalize when talking about the composition of a movement.  Furthermore, who is there to be involved and make a different and who is there to ‘be there’ and ‘be a part of the action’?  One participant pointed out that some people at Occupy camps do not even know why exactly they decided to come.

How does the diversity/heterogeneity within a movement affect its identity, framing, tactics and appeal? Indeed, this is connected to what Jeff Juris was saying in his presentation about what does the 99% framing mean as a representation?  Since the 99% is so inclusive, how can the Occupy movement have a single outcome that it works towards?

The concept of permissioning was brought up.  Is permissioning identified as a step towards legitimacy in social movements?  I have just not heard this term before and immediately upon hearing it, it resonated with me so I am just curious as to the origin and study of it.  Is it elites who are always involved in permissioning?  Is it large groups?  It is dissemination of information?  Is it mainstream media’s acknowledgment?

During one of the sessions, a man, aware of the fact that he was countering the entire conference’s purpose, questioned whether these three movements (OWS, Arab Spring and European Contention) can even be compared since they are so different.  There were various responses.  One of which explained that it is important to compare these movements because of their similar timing!  In Sidney Tarrow’s book Power in Movement he notes that there are more people acting contentiously nowadays than in the past.  It is no longer just students or peasants or workers.  Women (who have probably always been active but not been seen) are more visible, the middle class are mobilizing, priests in the Netherlands are mobilizing.  Forms of contention are changing and the tools being used are changing as contention increases.  Are we entering a period of great turbulence and these three movements are representative of that?  Or are we entering a period of time in which contention and social movements are commonplace and will become institutionalized?

Mobilization through History: A Closer Look at the Bonus Army and Occupy Wall Street movement

This photo of the Bonus Army march was taken on July 28th 1932.  
This photo of the Occupy Movement was taken in December 2011.  

In the last hundred years, the United States of America has faced two global market crashes. Between the end of WW1 and the beginning of WW2, America struggled through a Great Depression resulting in the mobilization The Bonus Army, veterans from WW1, in Washington, DC. Today, America is recovering from the late-2000s financial crisis, a financial crisis often compared to the Great Depression. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is a mobilization of response to the Global Financial Crisis. This paper will analyze the similarities and differences between the Bonus Army movement during the Great Depression and the current Occupy Wall Street movement  by comparing framing methods, collective identity, and media usage.

Research Question  

The Bonus Army and the Occupy Wall Street movement are both groups that mobilized in response to financial crises’ in the United States. We wish to compare the two because of their situational similarity in American history. Our main questions being: Are the methods of formulating a collective identity and framing for the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Bonus Army similar in terms of media usage and mobilization? What media was used?  Is being used?  How has it evolved or stayed the same?   

Cases and Why This is a Good Comparison   

As stated, we will be comparing the Bonus Army (the mobilization of war veterans to Washington D.C.) and the Occupy Wall Street movement.  It is a good comparison because neither the Bonus Army nor the Occupy Wall Street movement would have formed without the economic downturns that preceded them.  They both seek a more fair society.  They are different in their size and their goals because the Occupy Wall Street movement has no specific goal that once reached would mean the end to the movement whereas the Bonus Army was looking for a bill to pass to mark their success and return home.   

Research Methods

We will certainly be using the resources from Occupy Research.  We will conduct interviews with active Occupiers (and will use some questions outlined on the Occupy Research website).  We will use primary sources – newspapers – from the 1930s and from today to conduct frame analysis.  


We will use the theory articles from class by Benford and Snow about Framing as well as the Polletta and Jasper piece about Movement Identity.  We may use the Sampedro, McCarthy and Le Bon articles about Mobilization.  Additional overview articles that we have found to familiarize ourselves with the Bonus Army include this one talking about radio and this commentary piece with basic comparisons between the Bonus Army and Occupy.  Academic scholarship will be used to research the Bonus Army and media in the 30s.  One book, American Decades, has relevant information about the Bonus Army.  

The Occupy Research wiki will be an invaluable tool with example interview questions, compiled data about Occupy and information on current media tools and practices.  Spreadsheets will be used for coding.  

We will interview occupiers via e-mail.  We will use skills learned in class about appropriate interviewing and surveying techniques as well as frame analysis.  


March 14th – Propose Final Project to class

March 15th – Revise proposal/incorporate class suggestions , gather primary materials

March 21st – Sort through sources and compile data, analytical framework for comparison

March 28th – Interviews, Create an outline and review literature

April 4th – rough-rough draft

April 11th – first draft of paper

April 25th – 2nd draft, final project due

May 16th – Final draft

- Nathalie and Kelly 

It Is All About Communication

The readings for this week, as well as the tutorial, reminded me of Castell’s article.  Castell talked about how politics is communication and really what it all comes down to is how to win over people’s minds.  Also, when I was going through the tutorial I felt as though it could have been a tutorial for how to create a campaign for someone running for public office.  I have never worked on a campaign before but I know campaigns find ways to show a politician’s values in order to reach the masses.  They do this through visuals, numbers, tone, solutions and messengers.  Campaigns are a time when I am reminded that I need to have a certain degree of media literacy.

I know that I am part of a public that has little contact with social issues.  How can we when 60% of all local TV news stories are under 30 seconds, and there is such a high percentage of air time devoted to weather forecasts? I have been hearing about the trial in New Jersey over the suicide of the gay freshmen.  The student, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate put a video on the internet of a tryst Clementi had with another man.  The media was overflowing with reports about the suicide and it was used as a way to garner attention for gay hate crimes.  In reading about the trial, more is coming out about the roommate and perhaps some elements of the story were left out when the media reported on the suicide.

This particular incident is not a social movement in and of itself but was used by a social movement to gather attention and inspire action.  How much does it matter that the reports of the incident are not totally true?  How do individual flare-ups play in to the overall framing especially when the reporting on an incident is not controlled?  I understand that frames need to think systematically, long-term and thematically but I am still curious as to the connection.

The Benford and Snow piece comments on the proliferation of scholarship on framing.  If people are more aware that issues are being presented to them a certain way, does that change their reaction?

Framing is something that anyone advocate can and does do.  However, do movements with more resources frame their issues more effectively?  For instance, will a more financially endowed movement spread frame its issue more effectively because it is able to disseminate better visuals and work with the Frameworks Institute.  Oh but wait!  ICTs are changing the way communication, and thus framing, happens.