The strategic interactions between protestors and their targets shape the world around us in profound ways. The editors and contributors to Protestors and Their Targets—all leading scholars in the study of social movements—look at why movements do what they do and why their interactions with other societal actors turn out as they do. They recognize that targets are not stationary but react to the movement and require the movement to react back.
This edited collection analyzes how social movements select their targets, movement-target interactions, and the outcomes of those interactions. Case studies examine school closures in Sweden, the U.S. labor movement, Bolivian water and Mexican corn, and other global issues to show the strategic thinking, shifting objectives, and various degrees of success in the actions and nature of these protest movements.
Protestors and Their Targets seeks to develop a set of tools for the further development of the field’s future work on this underexplored set of interactions.
Contributors: Edwin Amenta, Kenneth T. Andrews, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Sarah Gaby, Pablo Gastón, Frances Fox Piven, Gay W. Seidman, Nicole Shortt, Erica Simmons, Katrin Uba, Kim Voss, and the editors
“ With contributions by leading scholars, Protestors and Their Targets proves the importance of an interactive approach in order to understand protest by locating social movements within broad arenas of relations.”
—Donatella della Porta, Director of the Center for Social Movements Studies, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence
“Protestors and Their Targets brings together an extraordinary group of scholars, each offering a unique perspective on complex interactions between activists pushing for change and those on the receiving end of protestors’ demands. The focus on interactional processes redirects scholars’ attention to ‘where the action is,’ while situating these dynamics within broader structures of power relations. This book conveys the complexity, importance, and the excitement involved in peoples’ efforts to act together to make a better world.”
—Rory McVeigh, Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Sociology, University of Notre Dame and co-author of The Politics of Losing: Trump, the Klan, and the Mainstreaming of Resentment
“The editors provide an instructive historical account of how social movement theory developed a blind spot to targets in the first place, as well as promising steps to address it in recent work on fields, players, and arenas. Several of the entries provide fresh insight on cases outside of the familiar U.S. context…. (T)here is much to glean for scholars of different stripes. This book is a must-have for social movement researchers.”
"This theoretically rich collection addresses protesters and their often overlooked targets, with contributions from various authors ranging from giants in the field to newer scholars…. (T)he authors provide a mix of illustrative issues from school closures to labor movements across many different political and social contexts, movements, and targets, to remind readers that they shift and change, requiring more study…. The creative and original thinking on display in this fascinating work is complemented by a solid bibliography…. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”
“ The editors’ introduction offers a robust foundation not just for the book itself but for what they argue is a new realm of social movement theorizing. They lay out the stakes of studying the interactive contexts that shape movements and the institutions and actors these movements touch…. Protestors and Their Targets will be of interest and utility to social scientists wishing to study movements with greater dynamism and specificity in order to best make sense of the levers of social change in a given place and time."