Identity and culture are two of the basic building blocks of ethnicity. Through the construction of identity and culture, individuals and groups attempt to address the problematics of ethnic boundaries and meaning. Ethnicity is best understood as a dynamic, constantly evolving property of both individual identity and group organization. The construction of ethnic identity and culture is the result of both structure and agency-a dialectic played out by ethnic groups and the larger society. Ethnicity is the product of actions undertaken by ethnic groups as they shape and reshape their self-definition and culture; however, ethnicity is also constructed by external social, economic, and political processes and actors as they shape and reshape ethnic categories and definitions. This paper specifies several ways ethnic identity and culture are created and recreated in modern societies. Particular attention is paid to processes of ethnic identity formation and transformation, and to the purposes served by the production of culture-namely, the creation of collective meaning, the construction of community through mythology and history, and the creation of symbolic bases for ethnic mobilization.
Drawing on debates in lesbian and gay periodicals and writings from and about post-structuralist "queer theory" and politics, this paper clarifies the meanings and distinctive politics of "queerness," in order to trace its implications for social movement theory and research. The challenge of queer theory and politics, I argue, is primarily in its disruption of sex and gender identity boundaries and deconstruction of identity categories. The debates (over the use of the term "queer" and over bisexual and transgender inclusion) raise questions not only about the content of sexuality-based political identities, but over their viability and usefulness. This in turn challenges social movement theory to further articulate dynamics of collective identity formation and deployment. While recent social movement theory has paid attention to the creation and negotiation of collective identity, it has not paid sufficient attention to the simultaneous impulse to destabilize identities from within. That tendency, while especially visible in lesbian and gay movements, is also visible in other social movements. It calls attention to a general dilemma of identity politics: Fixed identity categories are both the basis for oppression and the basis for political power. The insights of both sides of the dilemma highlighted here raise important new questions for social movement theory and research.
Recent work on social movement recruitment emphasizes the importance of pre-existing social networks and underestimates that of cognitive cultural messages, which are sometimes transmitted across these networks, but at other times are broadcast to strangers. In the absence of networks, moral shocks may be necessary for recruiting strangers, and the most effective ones are conveyed by powerful condensing symbols. Even those researchers who have examined the ''frames'' necessary for recruitment have been unduly influenced by the social-network exemplar, overlooking broader cultural ''themes'' in society al large. Through surveys of animal rights and anti-nuclear protestors, we distinguish two mechanisms of recruitment to protest, one based primarily on appeals to new recruits, the other on activating existing network. Fewer animal rights protestors rated family, friends, and previous activism in other causes as reasons for their animal rights participation; they were often recruited directly by moral shocks in the form of visual and verbal rhetoric.
Social movements are not distinct and self-contained; rather, they grow from and give birth to other movements, work in coalition with other movements, and influence each other indirectly through their effects on the larger cultural and political environment. Building on both political process and collective identity perspectives, this paper uses a case study of the women's movement's impact on U.S. peace movement activity in the 1980s to develop a theory of movement-movement influence. We argue that this influence is shown by: 1) the adoption of feminist ideological frames by the peace movement; 2) the spread of the women's movement's tactical innovations into peace protest; 3) increased presence of women in leadership positions in both the institutionally-oriented and direct action wings of the movement; and 4) the adoption of organizational structures that built on feminist processes designed to avoid hierarchy. Drawing data from both movements at local and national levels, we suggest four mechanisms of transmission between the movements: 1) organizational coalitions; 2) overlapping social movement communities; 3) shared personnel; and 4) broader changes in the external environment. Social movement spillover effects have implications for our understanding of both the continuity and impact of social protest movements.
This paper addresses men's underrepresentation in four predominantly female professions: nursing, elementary school teaching, librarianship, and social work. Specifically, it examines the degree to which discrimination disadvantages men in hiring and promotion decisions, the work place culture, and in interactions with clients. In-depth interviews were conducted with 99 men and women in these professions in four major U.S. cities. The interview data suggest that men do not face discrimination in these occupations; however, they do encounter prejudice from individuals outside their professions. In contrast to the experience of women who enter male-dominated professions, men generally encounter structural advantages in these occupations which tend to enhance their careers. Because men face different barriers to integrating nontraditional occupations than women face, the need for different remedies to dismantle segregation in predominantly female jobs is emphasized.
A currently fashionable claim is that violence against husbands is about as prevalent as violence against wives; spousal violence has been said to be symmetrical in its extent, severity, intentions, motivational contexts, and even its consequences. The evidence for this alleged symmetry derives from two sources: (1) surveys employing the "Conflict Tactics Scales" (CTS), a checklist of self-reported "acts" perpetrated or experienced, and (2) U.S. homicide data. We criticize the claim of sexual symmetry by reviewing other contradictory survey evidence; by showing that the CTS provides an account of marital violence that is neither reliable nor valid; and by demonstrating that the sexual symmetry of spousal homicide victimization does not reflect sexually symmetrical motivation or action-and is in any case peculiar to the United States. Confining self-report data to a checklist of acts, devoid of motives, meanings and consequences cannot insure objectivity, validity or an adequate development of theory to explain violence.
This paper describes some of the efforts of an interdisciplinary research team investigating the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the causative pathogen associated with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and related conditions. The risk groups studied were injecting drug users and their sexual partners. Due to the clandestine nature of illicit drug use, we were faced with two interrelated problems: developing a scientific method to monitor the spread of the HIV infection among these drug users and their sexual partners, groups generally thought to be especially difficult to reach; and creating a health education intervention that would help stop the epidemic from spreading among this population and through them to other members of the community. The method we developed to sample injecting drug users is called targeted sampling. Although it incorporates some aspects of other well established sampling strategies, it is sufficiently different to be treated as a separate research method. Further, targeted sampling provides a cohesive set of research methods that can help researchers study health or social problems that exist among populations that are difficult to reach because of their attributed social stigma, legal status, and consequent lack of visibility.
Drawing on a social constructionist perspective, this paper (1) identifies some of he most salient dimensions of the ''environmental justice ''frame as it has emerged from local community struggles over toxic contamination in the United States; and (2) provides an empirical illustration of the emergence and application of this concept in a particular contaminated community, the Carver Terrace neighborhood of Texarkana, Texas. Carver Terrace, an African-American community consisting mostly of homeowners, recently organized to win a federal buyout and relocation after being declared a Superfund site in 1984. Using case study evidence, the paper argues tal the residents' ability to mobilize for social change was intimately linked to their adoption of an ''environmental justice'' frame. The intent of the conceptual discussion of environmental justice and the case study is to clarify the meaning of a term used with increasing frequency and some ambiguity in both popular and academic discourses. This paper documents the process by which the environmental justice frame is constructed in an interplay between the local community and national levels of the antitoxics movement.
This essay argues for the usefulness of approaching social movement ideology as a set of "cultural resources" that can be understood in many of the same ways as are conventional structural resources. One important type of cultural resource is the rhetorical frame with which movements make public political claims. Using a specific substantive example of a cultural resource - rhetoric about the "public good" - I focus on the linkages between collective action frames and the wider cultural repertoire from which movements adapt their meanings. Three ideal-typical versions of public good rhetoric appear: the covenant; the contract; and the stewardship.
Based on an integration of work on uncertainty avoidance in decision making with research on causal attribution in punishment, the author hypothesizes that judges attempt to manage uncertainty by developing "patterned responses" that are the product of an attribution process involving assessments of the offender's likelihood of committing future crime. Washington, D. C., felony sentencing data generated by the Prosecutor's Management and Information System (PROMIS) were used to test this integrated theoretical model. Support for the theoretical integration is provided by the evidence of the effects of prior record, defendant's race, use of a weapon, pretrial release, and the interaction between defendant's race and bail outcome on sentence severity. Contrary to common suppositions, information on defendant-victim relationship and victim provocation was unrelated to sentence severity. Further research should examine judges' attempt to reduce uncertainty by relying on stereotypes and attributions linked to the likelihood of recidivism.
This paper examines how unexpected neighborhood changes influence fear of crime. It focuses on the roles of population composition, signs of incivility, and unsupervised peer teen groups. Survey, physical assessment, and census data for 1,622 residents in 66 Baltimore city neighborhoods form the basis of contextual models of daytime and nighttime fear levels. Fear was high in neighborhoods experiencing unexpected increases in minority and youth populations. Unexpected ecological change does not by itself set in motion a broad array of consequences undermining neighborhood viability. Rather, ecological change influences racial composition; other structural dynamics, independent of these ecological changes, subsequently determine the specific consequences of neighborhood racial composition.
This paper examines the routine disciplinary procedures of an inner-city high school. The analysis shows that school policies and procedures encourage disciplinarians to use suspensions, transfers, and involuntary "drops" to "get rid of" students they deem "troublemakers." The indicators disciplinarians use to identify "troublemakers" are the same factors that, according to educational research, place students "at risk" of dropping out. Because a disproportionate number of urban black and Hispanic students come from circumstances that interfere with attendance and attention or produce behaviors school workers define as insubordinate or disobedient, routine disciplinary practices that exclude "troublemakers" may be a mechanism through which the school helps perpetuate racial and class stratification in the larger society.
This paper argues that identity politics is a form of high-risk activism. We draw from collective identity approaches to social movements to describe how the Sociologists' Lesbian and Gay Caucus has used identity-based organizing, assimilationist politics, and personalized political strategies during the past two decades to challenge stigmatized representations of same-sex sexuality and promote equal treatment of gays and lesbians in sociology and the larger society. Using survey data collected in 1981 and 1992 from caucus members, supplemented by intensive interviews, we assess the extent to which an increase in reported rates of discrimination and bias during the past ten years is linked to variations in activist experience and political consciousness. We then present a qualitative analysis of five career consequences suffered by gay, lesbian, and bisexual sociologists who engage in various forms of personalized political resistance: 1) discrimination in hiring; 2) bias in tenure and promotion; 3) exclusion from social and professional networks; 4) devaluation of scholarly work on gay and lesbian topics; and 5) harassment and intimidation. We conclude by examining the implications of our findings for the social movement literature that addresses the formation, use, and impact of identity politics.
The terms "ethnic economy" and "ethnic enclave economy" designate an immigrant or minority business and employment sector that coexists with the general economy. Users often treat these terms as synonymous. In fact, they are not. The concept of ethnic enclave economy derives from the labor segmentation literature, whereas the concept of ethnic economy derives from the middleman minorities literature. The derivations have shaped the problems that both concepts address. The strenuous debate about relative wages in the ethnic enclave versus the general economy is a case in point. When conceptualized in terms of an ethnic economy, the salience of this debate greatly diminishes. Agreeing that the concept of ethnic enclave economy is useful, we nonetheless claim that it is less general than the older concept of the ethnic economy. Indeed, we show that the ethnic enclave economy is really a special case of the ethnic economy. Evidence for this conclusion derives, in part, from our survey of Iranian immigrants in Los Angeles, the results of which fit the older ethnic economy concept but cannot be squeezed into the concept of an ethnic enclave economy.
Most of the research on the effects of discrimination on occupational behavior has focused either on race or gender, ignoring the unique social location of black females. Recent feminist scholarship has identified the need for an interactive model articulating the interlocking nature of racial and sexual systems of subordination. This paper examines the interactive effects of race and gender in one male-dominated occupation-police work. Based on in-depth interviews with 106 black and white officers and supervisors from five large municipal agencies, it explores the perspectives, experiences, and structural barriers black women officers face in dealing with white female and black and white male co-workers. This study finds that the combination of their race and gender statuses leads to both unique problems and perspectives for black women. The interaction of racism and sexism results in each form of expression modifying the nature and impact of the other.
This paper draws on a participant-observation study of two grass-roots environmental movements to illuminate difficulties in multicultural alliance building between activists. It focuses on different, taken-for-granted cultural patterns in the ways grass-roots movements create group bonds, and it conceptualizes these patterns as different forms of "movement community." A "personalized" form of movement community in local U.S. Green movement groups contributed to difficulties in multicultural alliance building. These difficulties arose despite the U.S. Greens' explicit multiculturalist ideology and their validation of the "environmental justice" ideology upheld by some activists of color. The paper suggests that U.S. Greens share with other contemporary activists a way of building movement community that places cultural barriers in the path of multicultural alliances. It also suggests that the personalized form of community may be a reasonable, if problematic, response by activists like Greens to difficult cultural predicaments in multicultural alliance building.
This article uses qualitative interviews from a sample of never-married African-American mothers to describe the ways that poor women dynamically adapt to economic marginality. The empirical data serve to expand on structural explanations that correctly demonstrate the link between economic factors and family patterns among the poor, but ignore non-nuclear family arrangements and omit personal agency in understanding poverty. Findings from the study highlight the viability of alternative family patterns and the active roles that women play in mediating the effects of poverty. They also suggest direction for a broader research agenda.
Complaint filing is a critical stage in the prosecution of a case, for here prosecutors decide which cases will go on for adjudication by the courts. A significant percentage of sexual assault cases never get beyond this stage in the criminal justice process. This paper examines prosecutorial accounts for sexual assault case rejection. A central feature of these accounts is discrediting the victim's rape allegation with the techniques of finding discrepancies in the victim's story and assuming ulterior motives for reporting the assault. The resources that prosecutors use to develop these techniques are official reports and records, typifications of rape-relevant behavior, and knowledge of the victim's personal life and criminal connections. Prosecutors' accounts reveal the indigenous logic of prosecutors' decisions to reject cases and the organizational structure in which these decisions are situated.