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How Change Happens lecture IV: The Role of Activism

How Change Happens lecture IV: The Role of Activism






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  • Lister and Pia (2008) Stems largely from different readings of the history of Western Europe and North America, producing a Western bias

How Change Happens lecture IV: The Role of Activism How Change Happens lecture IV: The Role of Activism Presentation Transcript

  • Citizenship and Activism Duncan Green Brandeis Proseminar March 2012 Lecture 4
  • Theories of citizenship Four interwoven themes Rights, duties, participation and identity Different combos of these give rise to three schools of thought – Liberal models that give priority to individual rights – Communitarian models that place the emphasis on duties and identity – Republican models that stress participation
  • Liberal theories of citizenship Born out of reaction to tyranny and the overweening state. ‘the great end’ of men entering society is ‘the enjoyment of their properties in peace and safety’. (Locke) Ignores: – Struggle for rights (granted rather than won) – Other (non class) forms of exclusion – Communal identities (v individualistic)
  • Communitarians Common Good > Individual Rights – The East London mattress Identity (and citizenship) springs from membership of a community, raising problems with rights of minority communities or dissidents Ambivalent on role of state Struggles with post-modern social fragmentation and multiple parallel (and overlapping) communities
  • Republicanism Also suspicious of liberal individualism But social bonds created through participation and membership (Puttnam), not deeper sense of community Little to say on conflictive aspects of citizenship
  • Where the three schools collide oncitizenship and activism Relative weight of formal democracy and protest Invited v conquered spaces Is formal democracy irrelevant? I’m with Churchill
  • The dynamics of citizenship Cycles of Contention – repression, partial victories leading to reform, and demobilisation Tarrow: protest requires – patterns of political opportunities and constraints – inherited cultural symbols – dense social networks Which is why global citizenship will always be weak cf national level
  • Citizens and states In Europe citizenship created by encroachment of state (taxes, conscription) – ‘caging’ (Mann) Social contract (tax, law, elections) Citizens movements often a source of innovation for the state and challenge the ‘plasticity of power’ At local level ‘Cycles of Accountability’ (Fox) – ‘thickening of civil society and state reformism’
  • The conflict-cooperation cycle Social Conflict Events and Reforms run out Moments of steam or new problems arise Reforms and Cooperation
  • When do citizens’ movements achievelasting change? Gaventa and McGee (2010) – Civil society alone is not enough – formal political process – And alliances between civil society and reformers inside state • Juggling trade offs between influence and cooption (insider/outsider) Often division between state and civil society is artificial (Porto Alegre) - state/ society complexes’
  • Tarrow’s view of the future, as state-citizen interaction builds institutions‘The power [of contentious politics] willat first be ferocious, uncontrolled andwidely diffused, but ultimately ephemeraland institutionalised. It will disperse ‘likea floodtide which loosens up much of thesoil but leaves alluvial deposits in itswake’’
  • How Change Happens: somearchetypes Active Citizenship – People in the Streets – Grassroots Leadership Elite-driven – Enlightened Leaders – Technocrats make evidence-based policy
  • Archetypes (continued) Cross class interaction – Democracy works – Drivers of Change: Cross-sectoral alliances around common agenda + conflict leads to ‘transitions to accountability’ Pathways – Incremental progress – Power of Example – Sudden breakthroughs (Arab Spring) – Evolutionary change (venture capitalism)
  • South Africa’s Treatment ActionCampaign Watch the video (10 minutes) and discuss – What kinds of change strategies did TAC use? – Why do you think they chose those strategies (what other approaches could they have taken)?