9 titles on the action, culture, and psychology of protest.

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Corrigall-Brown, Catherine. Patterns of protest: trajectories of participation in social movements. Stanford, 2011. 177p ISBN 9780804774109, $45.00.
Reviewed in CHOICE June 2012

Over the past decades, a great deal has been learned about the mobilization and consequences of protest activism, but much less is known about the participants themselves. Sociologist Corrigall-Brown (Univ. of Western Ontario) breaks new ground in presenting a major systematic study of how individuals participate in or stop participating in protest activism. She argues that social activism is not a once and for all time phenomenon, but rather a continuous, lifelong process. Persistent and extraordinary engagement in activism is much less common than appears in many case studies or media reports; most ordinary protest participants’ life paths follow an intermittent pattern. Participation in protest activities is a result of an array of structural and individual factors, and often has profound long-term impacts for the participants. Corrigall-Brown identifies four trajectories of participation: persistence, transfer, individual abeyance, and disengagement. To explain the different trajectories, she further develops a trajectory model of participation and focuses on the effect of organizational and relational contexts on movement participation. The author artfully combines quantitative analyses of panel data and qualitative life-history interviews and writes in a vivid, provocative manner. The end product is a theoretically rich, empirically rigorous book that students of contentious politics cannot afford to ignore. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. —J. Li, Columbia University

Jasper, James M. The emotions of protest. Chicago, 2018. 282p index ISBN 9780226561646, $90.00; ISBN 9780226561783 pbk, $30.00; ISBN 9780226561813 ebook, contact publisher for price.
Reviewed in CHOICE January 2019

Jasper (sociology, City Univ. of New York) has written a definitive, systematic book that explores emotions in politics and in social action writ large. In the beginning, he challenges the traditional distinction between emotions and thought, replacing it with the notion of their natural co-occurence as “thinking body” and “feeling brain.” To elucidate the involvement of emotions in social action, Jasper organizes his material around five types of feelings: reflex emotions, urges, moods, affective commitments, and moral emotions. A chapter is devoted to each. The thrust of the material is to present a widespread, all-encompassing portrayal of the field and its relevance in theory and practice in the social sciences. The appendix contains two essays: one considers the ways that observers have described emotions over the millennia, and the other is devoted to research techniques. A statement about US President Donald Trump is included. This is an outstanding book, suitable for academicians in all social sciences and for any professionals with responsibility for organizing and managing social and political protests. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates and above; professionals and general readers. —D. Sydiaha, emeritus, University of Saskatchewan

McQuiston, Liz. Protest!: a history of social and political protest graphics. Princeton, 2019. 285p bibl index ISBN 9780691198330, $39.95; ISBN 9780691197319 ebook, contact publisher for price.
Reviewed in CHOICE May 2020

Graphic works that protest established political, economic, and other values have a long history. That history is beautifully brought to light in McQuiston’s lavishly illustrated book. Protest! makes excellent use of the full-color large-format pages. This reviewer is unaware of another resource on the subject that combines depth of scholarship, care of reproduction, and extended timeline as this volume does. Starting with Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses (1517), picking up steam with the pamphleteers of the French Revolution, and coursing right through the tumultuous 1960s to the present day, McQuiston (a graphic artist and independent scholar) reminds the reader that protest is a graphic tradition that has always existed alongside the mainstream information channels. This is an invaluable resource for those in the social sciences as well for students and scholars of the graphic arts. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. —S. Skaggs, University of Louisville

Reed, T.V. The art of protest: culture and activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the streets of Seattle. Minnesota, 2005. 362p ISBN 0816637709, $74.95; ISBN 0816637717 pbk, $24.95.
Reviewed in CHOICE November 2006

This book marshals a fresh and compelling perspective for the study of social movements. Reed (American studies and English, Washington State Univ.) provides a nuanced understanding of various collective efforts to effect change in the US during the second half of the 20th century. He focuses on cultural expression by social movement participants, as well as the impact of movement-generated culture on the values, beliefs, and identities of people in general. Reed does this in a sophisticated yet very accessible manner, with a fluid writing style and well-organized chapters ranging from black civil rights to global justice. Succeeding on many levels, the book makes a measurable contribution to the literature of several areas of study, offers a well-informed and insightful introduction to students at every level, and tenders various ideas and tactics to add to an activist toolkit. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. —C. Montrie, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Schreiber, Brad. Music is power: popular songs, social justice, and the will to change. Rutgers, 2019 (c2020). 236p bibl index ISBN 9781978808126, $29.95; ISBN 9781978808133 ebook, $29.95.
Reviewed in CHOICE July 2020

Award-winning social critic Brad Schreiber has attracted attention with his trenchant writings on a variety of influences on contemporary culture, including music. For example, he coauthored (with Steve Roby) an acclaimed book about rock icon Jimi Hendrix (Becoming Jimi Hendrix, 2010). The present book encompasses rock and other popular genres (for example, folk and hip-hop), chronicling protest music in the US from the labor-union struggles of the early 20th century to the present day. Each of the 15 chapters explores how a particular artist used music to effect social change. Schreiber’s subjects—among them Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, James Brown, and John Lennon—will be familiar to those interested in popular music. Much has been written about these artists elsewhere, but Schreiber’s focus sets this study apart. He goes beneath the surface to detail how their social consciousness evolved during the course of their careers, and how they came to understand their music’s power to address social ills. This carefully researched book is suitable for fans and scholars alike. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers. —D. Arnold, University of North Texas

Smith, Christopher J. Dancing revolution: bodies, space, and sound in American cultural history. Illinois, 2019. 255p index ISBN 9780252042393, $110.00; ISBN 9780252084188 pbk, $27.95; ISBN 9780252051234 ebook, $14.95.
Reviewed in CHOICE March 2020

A respected musicologist and vernacular musician, Smith (Texas Tech Univ.) offers a sprawling overview of vernacular dance in the US as evidence of people’s “contesting, constructing, and reinventing social orders” (p. 2). Working through case studies across 400 years of dancing in the US and Caribbean, Smith asserts a “historical model of street dance as both consciously irruptive and politically representative” (p. 3). The nine brief chapters offer case studies of evangelical preaching, street rituals, Native American ghost dancing, blackface minstrelsy, Lindy Hopping, and urban dances of protest (including B-boying), demonstrating how “in multiple eras of American cultural history, subaltern resistance to dominant control has literally been embodied through the phenomena of participatory dance” (p. 13). Close reading of photographic iconography of Josephine Baker’s dancing in the 1920s and Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races (1937) relies on considering African diaspora dancing as inherently transgressive, eternally conceived as alterity to a more acceptable, Euro-American norm. Smith avoids qualitative analyses of dancing in favor of exploring its recurrence as evidence of an abiding and recurrent human desire to embody freedom. The book concludes with a call for scholars to interrogate the privilege of academic inquiry by paying serious attention to North American vernacular culture. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. —T. F. DeFrantz, Duke University

Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and tear gas: the power and fragility of networked protest. Yale, 2017. 326p index ISBN 9780300215120, $26.00; ISBN 9780300228175 ebook, contact publisher for price.
Reviewed in CHOICE December 2017

Tufekci (Univ. of North Carolina) presents her readers with a first-hand account of various social movements such as the Zapatista movement, Arab Spring, Taksim Gezi Park, and Occupy Wall Street, with the intent of demonstrating how technology is an advantage and a shortcoming for networked protests. A strength of this book is the level of detail offered through her analysis and personal experience with these various movements. A key struggle confronting many social movements is their fragile nature. While social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook are resources for social movements to mobilize, Tufekci illustrates that this “quick” mobilization is hindered by the failure to frame their struggles in a clear manner. Comparing older social movements, such as the Civil Rights Movement, with contemporary movements such as Occupy Wall Street or Arab Spring, Tufekci demonstrates how the absence of long, planned out activities can create challenges for social movements, particularly when it is clear that leadership is not developed. The author does not try to assess success or failure, but rather to understand how technology influences movement mobilization. While the author acknowledges resource mobilization scholars like McCarthy and Zald, she fails to contextualize the analysis within the broader social movement literature. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —E. Acevedo, California State University, Los Angeles

Qualitative studies of silence: the unsaid as social action, ed. by Amy Jo Murray and Kevin Durrheim. Cambridge, 2019. 297p bibl index ISBN 9781108421379, $110.00; ISBN 9781108383684 ebook, $88.00.
Reviewed in CHOICE March 2020

This excellent overview of contemporary work in the sociology of silence shows us there is much more to be said about the unsaid. Using contemporary examples, including Trump’s Charlottesville speech, the #MeToo movement, the March for Our Lives rally, the second Trump-Clinton debate, the German New Right’s political-correctness discourse, and the media’s non-contextualization of reporting on North Korea, the editors have compiled a well-curated series of 15 non-jargon-ridden essays. Each chapter is well focused and theoretically and methodologically grounded, and each brings a unique example, focus, and orientation to the discussion. As examples mount, it becomes clear that silences operate differently for those in power and those subordinated by politics, gender, race, class, sexuality, and age. The practices of censorship and whistle-blowing, propaganda by omission, and lack of contextualization demonstrate that silence may be both an act of powerlessness and a call to action as protest. Certainly the editors make a strong, well-constructed argument that silence deserves to be given voice in all micro and macro social analyses. Speaking to the impact of omissions, silences, hesitations, and the unsaid in our everyday world, this volume deserves a wide readership. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals. —K. M. McKinley, Cabrini University

Weidmann, Nils B. The internet and political protest in autocracies, by Nils B. Weidmann and Espen Geelmuyden Rød. Oxford, 2019. 205p bibl index ISBN 9780190918316, $27.95; ISBN 9780190918330 ebook, contact publisher for price.
Reviewed in CHOICE February 2020

Widemann (political science, Univ. of Konstanz, Germany) and Rød (peace and conflict studies, Uppsala Univ., Sweden) examine the relationship between internet technology and political protest in autocracies. They created the Mass Mobilization in Autocracies Database (MMAD) database, which catalogs individual protest incidents in large cities in 68 autocracies from 2005 to 2012, and they draw on it to analyze protest incidence in relation to internet penetration, while controlling for economic development. In the first chapters the authors review the literature, present the theoretical framework, and describe the methodology. In the remaining chapters they describe the findings and outline key contributions, directions for future work, and policy implications. The authors conclude that internet penetration depresses the occurrences of protest but “catalyzes the persistence of protest over time and its diffusion across space” (p. 145). They note that in closed regimes there is a low level of protest, and that liberalized authoritarian regimes are able to use the internet to substitute for traditional methods of repression, but that once protest has started, “the facilitating effect of internet penetration on protest is stronger than in more closed [regimes]” (p. 142). Particularly valuable are the detailed descriptions of methods and of data analysis in the appendix. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. G. Everett, University of Colorado at Denver