Thursday, March 25, 2010
12:00pm – 1:00pm EST
Dr. Lee Smithey, Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College, looks at how tactical choices and their execution are closely related to the construction of collective identities in social movements. Studying collective identity has helped social movement scholars understand why people participate in collective action, but less attention has been paid to the relationships between tactical choices and collective identity. Strategies and tactics can reflect, reaffirm, or challenge collective identities. Innovative nonviolent methods can create tension as activists work to resolve what they do with who they feel they are. However, much of the power of nonviolent action lies in the ways tactics and methods leverage culture by tapping into identities that demarcate or crosscut movements, opponents, allies, and by-standing publics.