Another Community and Grassroots Association (CGA) Section Colloquium

Here is another CGA colloqium at our conference in Indiana:

057. Community and Grassroots Association (CGA) Section Colloquium: “The Organized Dynamics of Contemporary Contention around the World, from Arab Spring to OWS”
1:30 to 3:00 pm Thur., Nov. 15

In this colloquium, presenters will discuss the organizational and individual underpinnings of recent contention around the world. Participants will discuss the roles of nonprofit organizations in sponsoring and incubating movements such as Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the Tea Party, and the Arab Spring, as well as compare movements in countries like India, South Africa, Chile, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In addition, participants will discuss OWS movement’s successful and unsuccessful efforts to transcend racial, class, gender, and identity boundaries, as well as the results of an online survey of OWSers’ characteristics, previous activities, and involvement in OWS.

Longer Narrative
Presenters will initiate discussion among attendees on the following topics based on their research on Occupy Wall Street and similar social movements around the world. This is of interest given its timeliness and growing scholarly and public interest in these social movement activities and organizations.

“Nonprofits and Protest: What’s the Connection?” by Fabio Rojas

Abstract: Social movements have taken center stage. Occupy, the Tea Party, and the Arab Spring – these movements have all had an impact on contemporary society. This paper asks: what roles do non-profits have in these movements? This paper will focus on the different ways that non-profits shape movements as sponsors and incubators of movements.

“Conflict and Identity within the 99%: OWS and the Politics of Consensus” by Erica Kohl-Arenas

Abstract: This presentation will address questions of race, class, gender and identity within the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Since nearly the beginnings of the New York City occupation of Zuccotti Park, a significant number of people of color interested in aligning with the movement have expressed concern with the General Assembly and general consensus process used by movement facilitators. From a People of Color Caucus, to various Occupy the Hood groups emerging across New York City’s 5 boroughs questions of privilege and elite leadership have been raised by those who have felt excluded from or controlled by a centralized OWS structure. This talk will share informal findings from personal observations, The New School student experiences, and grassroots media coverage on this topic. The presentation will also engage broader theoretical questions about building diverse social movements and the opportunities and dilemmas of the popular consensus model.

“Institutional Dimensions of Support for and Participation in Occupy Wall Street” by Hector R. Cordero-Guzman

Abstract: During the last few months, evolving Social Movements converging around Occupy Wall Street (OWS) have been galvanizing the attention of the country and the world and have been able to organize Americans into the largest demonstrations and mass protest activities in response to the Great Recession. The successes of these mobilizations has led to considerable interest among researchers, policy makers, activists and others concerned with emerging social movements on the characteristics of persons interested in, supporting, and participating in these activities and in the broader social movement. The internet with a number of websites and social media have been central to connecting participants in OWS and to the development and management of OWS working groups and related movement infrastructure. Using data from a large survey of users of one of the main sites in OWS:, this paper discusses the characteristics of users of the website that told us they supported the OWS movement and those that indicated that they had participated in the activities coordinated by the various groups and organizations involved. We will explore the demographic characteristics of participants, their involvement in previous social movements, and their participation on other community based groups, organizations and advocacy activities in order to better understand the characteristics of persons involved, their institutional connections to other movements and organizations, and the relationship between involvement in community based groups and organizations and participation in OWS activities.

“Citizen Activism and Civil Society Development: International Perspectives” by L. David Brown

Abstract: This presentation will summarize initial results of a multi-country, multi-region research initiative on the evolution of civil society and the links among eruptions of citizen activism and existing civil society actors. It will draw on cases from countries like India, South Africa, Chile, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to explore factors underlying eruptions, the kinds of challenges they pose for existing institutions, and their implications for practitioners and policy makers.

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