Biographical impact vs establishment impact

I’m wondering what the relationship is between the biographical impact of a movement and those aspects of it which would increase its impact on the establishment.  Marco Giugni notes that “the narrower and more specific the movement goals, the more likely they are to get a response from the establishment.”  I would also posit that higher levels of organization within the movement aide in this potential impact.  I posit that the more closely a movement resembles or interfaces well with the establishment, the more likely it is that the establishment will respond in a helpful way.  However, I wonder if movements of the type that are likely to impact the establishment are also likely to have as powerful a biographical impact on the non-elite participants as less organized, focused movements like OWS.  I would argue no, that those types of establishment-oriented movements are in fact more likely to alienate or leave cold the non-activist population who may otherwise be inspired by a decentralized movement like OWS, Anonymous, or slacktivist-style actions.

I would like to argue that movements like OWS, as well as other movement-oriented social entities like Anonymous, as they become more horizontal, more identity-oriented, more free-associative in their ideologies, willingly sacrifice the chance to take an impactful place at the level of the establishment in favor of remaining impactful at the local, biographical level.  I would also argue that biographical impact and cultural impact are more closely related to each other than to impact on the establishment.

There’s been some great writing on the value of slacktivism and identity oriented activism and how it offers a useful alternative to the professionalized activist system recently from Matt Stempeck and Zeynep Tufecki.


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