Call for Abstracts

CBSM Workshop 2015 Protesters and their Targets

Thematic and Open Sessions

We invite you to submit an abstract for a thematic or open session at the 2015 CBSM Workshop. We encourage submissions from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives and using a variety of methodologies.
  • To submit an abstract for a thematic session, please review the proposed session topics below and email the appropriate organizer with an abstract of no more than 250 words.
  • If you would like to participate in a session, but do not see a topic that fits your paper, please submit your 250-word abstract to Wayne Santoro for consideration in a new session:
  • We are also looking for volunteers to be discussants! If interested, please email Sandy Levitsky:
The deadline for all abstract submissions is June 1, 2015.

Proposed Session Topics

Contention Goes to College: Movements in and of Higher Education

Organizer: Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

Though today’s college students may not be as biographically available as those of the 1960s and 1970s, college campuses still remain loci for many forms of activism, ranging from movements targeting college and university administrators with the goal of changing campus policies and practices to those addressing campus communities as the most proximate representations of larger political and social issues. This session is designed to bring together those addressing multiple types of movements with colleges and universities as their home and/or target and thus further expand our theoretical and empirical understandings of the dynamics and outcomes of contention on campus.

Targeting Culture: Collective Action Campaigns Aimed at Challenging Norms, Values, and Beliefs

Organizer: Sandy Levitsky

While social movement campaigns often target the state or organizations for particular material benefits or changes in practices and procedures, many also seek to change “hearts and minds.” This session seeks to engage scholars seeking to understand collective action geared toward challenging norms, values, and beliefs. What does it mean to target culture? What have we learned from the civil rights movement, feminist movement, LGBTQ and other movements about cultural challenges to racism, sexism, homophobia and other pervasive forms of bias?

Strategic Responses by Targets to Social Movement Activity

Organizer: Edward Walker

While there has been a recent turn toward conceptualizing social movement strategy, the strategic responses available to protest targets remain under-explored. Although ignoring or conceding to protest are important outcomes, there are a variety of strategic actions beyond these that targets may take: forming new networks or coalitions, launching counter-protests, lobbying, engaging in public relations campaigns to tarnish activists’ reputations, filing lawsuits, funding sympathetic advocacy groups, and more. Taking a broad view, this session invites empirical or conceptual papers that investigate strategic interaction and adaptation on the part of both protest targets and their challengers.

Targeting Market Institutions: Social Movements Seeking to Shape Economic Processes and Market Outcomes

Organizer: Cyrus Dioun and Brayden King

In recent years, social movement scholars have become increasingly interested in the outcomes of social movements that target market institutions. Scholars have described, for example, how social movement activists mobilize frames and resources to develop support for new products and industries, emerging organizational forms, and novel practices. We invite papers that examine how interactions between social movements, market targets, and other societal and state actors shape economic processes and market outcomes

Evaluating Social Media Campaigns: Who They Target, By What Means, and to What Effect

Organizer: Sandra Levitsky

The social media campaigns that accompany (and in some cases replace) on-the-ground activism continue to evolve as social movement tactic and strategy. What can we learn from variation in social media targets and tactics, and how do we measure the effectiveness of these campaigns? This session invites empirical research on all forms of collective action involving social media. This includes traditional organizing efforts that utilize social media as a supplementary tactic as well as new forms of activism that take place exclusively on the Internet.

Targets in the Field: Relational Perspectives on Social Movement

Organizer: Hank Johnston

Relational analysis, field perspectives, and dynamics approaches to the study of social movements are developing theories which, while different in focus, converge in their emphasis of the multiple and changeful processes that shape mobilization. One element that consistently comes up in all three is the role of the targets or objects of mobilization, how they are never passive players in the equation, and how it is important to take them seriously. This session considers different ways that "bringing the target back in" can deepen our understanding of mobilization processes. Submissions are welcome that approach social movement targets in different theoretical and empirical approaches.

Humor, Play, and Pleasure in Protest

Organizer: Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum

This panel will seek to include papers that are focused on understanding the role of humor, play and other pleasures of protest (including music, art and performances) in sustaining mobilization or seeking to persuade external actors such as the media, bystanders and political targets.

Race and Social Movements

Organizer: Zakiya Luna

From the 19th century abolitionist protests to 20th century nationalist movements to contemporary Ferguson organizing, race as an identity category and social structure has shaped (US) social movements in any ways. Where is social movement theory helping us grapple with race in its various manifestations in movements? How does race affect movement recruitment, strategies, and targets? Papers in this session are welcome to address these questions or others that contribute to a lively dialogue on race and social movements.

Why People Protest: New Directions

Organizer: Wayne Santoro

The backbone of social movement theory remains centered in better understanding processes of differential recruitment. What explains why some people protest but most do not? This session invites papers that push our understanding of this central topic in new directions. What mix of structural, cultural, and network features matter and how do these factors vary in their impact on mobilization across diverse movements in diverse settings?

Beyond Black: Social Movements among Understudied Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations in the US

Organizer: Wayne Santoro

The African American civil-rights movement is arguably the best studied social movement in the US, and in fact has served as the key empirical referent for the development of social movement theory. But this has meant that movements by other racial minorities have received limited attention. This session invites papers devoted to better understanding social movement processes among other racial/ethnic minority populations in the United States. What can we learn about social movements by turning our attention to protest dynamics among activists who are Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Native American, Asian American, Arab American, or other racially/ethnically marginalized populations?

Social Movement Methodologies

Organizer: Wayne Santoro

Since its beginnings, the literature on social movements has been deeply theoretical. But movement scholars have spent less attention advancing the methodological toolkit used to study social movements. Papers in this session will challenge conventional ways of investigating social movements and advance new methodological techniques and approaches. These papers will help us think more critically about issues like how we select our samples, conceptualize our key concepts, operationalize our central measures, and analyze our data quantitatively or qualitatively.

Bringing the Community in: Challenges and Opportunities to Publishing Community-Based Research in Leading Peer-Reviewed Journals

Organizer: Greg Maney

Over the last ten years, a growing number of sociologists have called for research that addresses social inequalities, that informs public policies, and that assists civil society actors in achieving positive social changes. Sociologists conducting community-based research (CBR) are well positioned to answer this call. Community-based research is generally regarded as a research project that includes community members in directing, designing, implementing, analyzing, using and/or evaluating research aimed at empowering the community and facilitating social change. Scholars studying social movements are presented with abundant opportunities to engage in CBR with SMOs. This type of research would be more relevant to activists—something advocated by longstanding section members.

One would, therefore, expect to see significant growth in the number of CBR articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, especially in journals focusing upon social movements. Yet this is not the case, with only a handful of such articles appearing over the last decade. This situation clearly affects the decisions of junior members of our section—what topics they choose, how they pursue them, and who they pursue them with. Typically junior scholars are told by their mentors “CBR will have to wait until after tenure.” As a result, the social justice commitments and civil society ties that motivated many to become social movement scholars are set aside in the interests of secure, living wage employment.

The session will bring together journal editors belonging to our Section with those who conduct CBR to discuss challenges and opportunities to publish community-based research in leading peer-reviewed journals. In the hopes of facilitating a focused and productive discussion, the Publications Committee of the Urban Research Based Action Network (URBAN) will draft and circulate in advance of the session a set of proposed CBR guidelines for journal editors. The guidelines will define community-based research; offer different examples of CBR; present criteria for evaluating the rigor of the research; and provide a list of scholars specializing in CBR who are willing to serve on editorial boards and as reviewers.

After the session, URBAN hopes to work with interested editors to customize and refine the guidelines for their particular outlets as well as to publicize new, associated publication opportunities for community-based research.

While there will be no papers presented at this session, we encourage interested individuals to email Greg Maney to register. Registered participants will then receive a copy of the proposed CBR guidelines in advance of the workshop.

Struggling for Social Justice: Special session(s) sponsored by Research Committee 48 of the International Sociological Association

Organizer: Tova Benski


The 2015 CBSM Workshop invites all interested graduate students to register for a roundtable discussion with a senior social movements scholar. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain feedback from seasoned researchers. Student participants should be prepared to talk about their current research for five or ten minutes. If you would like to attend the roundtable sessions, please send a short description of your research along with your first, second and third choice scholar to by June 1, 2015.

The list of senior scholars participating includes:

Jeff Goodwin
Hank Johnston
Holly J. McCammon
Carol M. Mueller
Pamela E. Oliver
Suzanne Staggenborg
Nancy E. Whittier
Rhys H. Williams


Register online for the CBSM Workshop

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