A Citizen’s Guide to Social Movements : Protest and the DNA of Democracy book cover
1st Edition

A Citizen’s Guide to Social Movements
Protest and the DNA of Democracy

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 1, 2021
ISBN 9780415661041
January 1, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
128 Pages

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Book Description

The role of social and political movements are crucial in shaping the way we understand democracy. This brief and accessible guide explains how the formal rules of democratic political systems encourage citizens to engage in the kinds of action we commonly associate with movements: picketing, petitioning, fundraising, occupying public spaces, chanting, displaying slogans, demonstrating, parading, blocking access to public spaces and (sometimes) violence. Markoff discusses the ways movements have been instrumental in redefining democracy and how they have changed as new issues have emerged, new means of communication have affected the possibilities for mobilization, and other kinds of institutional change have altered the constraints within which movements act. Markoff is especially focused on the role of movements within democratic politics, the interplay of movements with political party competition, the passage of legislation, and the actions of regulatory agencies.

In addition to looking at the national politics of democratic states, this short primer also examines the ways in which democratic claims have also figured in justification for assertions of domination abroad as well as in claims for overturning colonial rule. The book ends with speculation about the current forms of social movement activity and the ways these might reshape democratic politics for good or ill in the near future.

Table of Contents

1. Reinventing Democracy 2. Movements as Part of the DNA of Democracy 3. How Movements Redefined Democracy 4. How Democratic Ideas Are Used by States and Movements 5. New Possibilities for Social Movements

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John Markoff is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He holds joint appointments in the departments of sociology, history, and political science and is Research Professor in the University Center for International Studies.