The new site of activism: on-line organizations, movement entrepreneurs, and the changing location of social movement decision making

Jennifer Earl, Alan Schussman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

91 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most research on social movements and the Internet has focused on pre-existing movements which have recently adopted on-line tactics. This body of research has applied classic social movement theories to such movements, focusing on the faster communication, broader reach, and the expanded mobilization capacity facilitated by the Internet for pre-existing movements. Using the on-line strategic voting movement during the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election as a case study, we argue that the application of prior theory often overlooks the ways in which movements that emerge and thrive on-line function differently from conventional movements. Specifically, we argue that movement entrepreneurs, instead of social movement organizations, were largely responsible for organizing the strategic voting movement. This more entrepreneurial movement infrastructure brought with it changes in decision making processes and concerns. Decision making became more discretionary, the importance of leadership declined, decisions about organizational form became less problematic, and ideological and Internet-related concerns informed decision making in lieu of organizational or more standard social movement concerns. However, we argue that e-movements, and the strategic voting movement in particular, are not so exotic that they constitute fundamentally new forms of action; instead, such movements are still usefully thought of as social movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConsensus Decision Making, Northern Ireland and Indigenous
PublisherJAI Press
Pages155-187
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)0762307870, 9780762307876
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Volume24
ISSN (Print)0163-786X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The new site of activism: on-line organizations, movement entrepreneurs, and the changing location of social movement decision making'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this