Direct Action, Deliberation, and Diffusion: Collective Action after the WTO Protests in Seattle

Direct Action, Deliberation, and Diffusion: Collective Action after the WTO Protests in Seattle

by Lesley J. Wood
     
 

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What are the micro-level interactions and conversations that underlie successful and failed diffusion? By comparing the spread of direct action tactics from the 1999 Global Justice Movement protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle to grassroots activists in Toronto and New York, Lesley Wood argues that dynamics of deliberation among local activists

Overview

What are the micro-level interactions and conversations that underlie successful and failed diffusion? By comparing the spread of direct action tactics from the 1999 Global Justice Movement protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle to grassroots activists in Toronto and New York, Lesley Wood argues that dynamics of deliberation among local activists both aided and blocked diffusion. To analyze the localization of this cycle of protest, the research brings together rich ethnography, interviews, social network analysis, and catalogs of protest events. The findings suggest that when diverse activists with different perspectives can discuss innovations in a reflexive, egalitarian manner, they are more likely to make strategic and meaningful choices.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Lesley Wood offers original insights into why Battle of Seattle tactics diffused more successfully to New York than to Toronto. In accessible language and intimate detail, she shows that the quality of conversations was the main reason for this difference in pathways. While Wood acknowledges structural and relational contexts, she pays special attention to deliberation, experimentation, and direct action. As insider in both movement communities, her perspective of transnational diffusion is unique. With the wave of resistance continuing to spread from Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street and beyond, this book is a ‘must read’ for scholars and activists alike.”
—Sean Chabot, Eastern Washington University, author of Transnational Roots of the Civil Rights Movement: African American Explorations of the Gandhian Repertoire

“Wood’s deeply rich substantive exploration of why direct action tactics work here not there and now not then, is theoretically sophisticated and eminently accessible and brings activist social science into the mainstream. Smart, challenging, reflective, and marked by commitment to real people in the real world making real decisions about things that really matter, this engaging story and astute analysis of what works (and does not) when, where, why, and how will be welcomed by scholars, students, and activists. This superbly crafted volume is another achievement for one of the most innovative and exciting series in the social sciences.”
—Eric Selbin, Southwestern University

“Direct Action, Deliberation, and Diffusion is a must-read for social movement theorists and activists alike. Wood’s detailed case study helps us understand how movement tactics and strategies are shared, or not, using the theoretical framework of diffusion. This text is particularly useful today, with the growing uprisings and movements that began in 2011 spreading across the globe.”
—Marina Sitrin, CUNY Graduate Center, Committee on Globalization and Social Change, author of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107020719
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
04/30/2012
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Lesley Wood is Associate Professor of Sociology at York University in Toronto, Canada. She researches how social movements and state responses to those movements are changing in the current globalizing moment. She has published on this question in journals including Mobilization, Qualitative Sociology, the Journal of World Systems Research and Upping the Anti. She has authored or co-authored book chapters on the control and surveillance of protest, summit protests, transnational social movement networks and coalition formation, the World Social Forum, deliberation and nineteenth-century British social movements. She is the co-author of the second and third editions of the late Charles Tilly's book, Social Movements, 1768–2008/2012. She is a regional editor for the international, peer-reviewed, online journal Interface, a journal for and about social movements.

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