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

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

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.  

Tools 

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.  

Workplan 

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 

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

  1. Pingback: Mobilization through History: A Closer Look at the Bonus Army and Occupy Wall Street movement | Networked Social Movements

  2. Pingback: Mobilization through History: A Closer Look at the Bonus Army and … | Occupy Wall Street

  3. Pingback: Mobilization through History: A Closer Look at the Bonus Army and … | Occupy Wall Street Info

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