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Geography and Social Movements

Comparing Antinuclear Activism in the Boston Area

2000
Author:

Byron A. Miller

Geography and Social Movements

A comparative analysis of the implications of space, place, and scale in political mobilization.

Byron A. Miller directly addresses the implications of space, place, and scale in social movement mobilization, and then demonstrates their significance in a detailed comparative analysis of peace movements in three municipalities around Boston.

“Byron Miller fashions a compelling case for revising the way social movement scholars approach their subject....Miller’s thoughtful, pathbreaking book will no doubt serve as a cornerstone and inspiration for the integrative work that lies ahead.”

A comparative analysis of the implications of space, place, and scale in political mobilization.

Context matters, as students of social movements increasingly agree, and yet very little attention has been paid to the role geography plays in activism. Geography and Social Movements corrects this oversight, bringing a geographical perspective to the study of social movements. Byron A. Miller directly addresses the implications of space, place, and scale in social movement mobilization, and then demonstrates their significance in a detailed comparative analysis of peace movements in three municipalities around Boston.

In focusing on the Boston area-an old northeastern region, heavily industrialized with many companies working on military contracts, and also a center of education-Miller is able to explore how campaigns aimed at curbing nuclear arms operate within the cultural, political, social, and economic confines of particular places and spaces. He shows how the decisions and actions of local peace movement organizations played a central role in the movement’s successes and failures, and how local organizations had to respond to the differing class, race, and gender characteristics of different locales. Miller’s empirical analysis clearly demonstrates that geographic strategies for social movement organizations have direct consequences for the successes and failures of specific campaigns.


Geography and Social Movements

Byron A. Miller is assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Cincinnati.

Geography and Social Movements

“Byron Miller fashions a compelling case for revising the way social movement scholars approach their subject....Miller’s thoughtful, pathbreaking book will no doubt serve as a cornerstone and inspiration for the integrative work that lies ahead.”

Miller presents a persuasive argument for the synthesis of social and geographic perspectives, and his contribution to the bridging of disciplinary boundaries between geography and the study of social movements should be welcomed and commended.

Social Forces

Geography and Social Movements provides a thorough overview of the social movements literature, and enumerates key theoretical and conceptual insights. The book stands to make an important contribution.

Annals of the Association of American Geographers

Geography and Social Movements

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Missing Geography: Social Movements on the Head of a Pin? (with Deborah G. Martin)
2. A Geographic Model of Social Movement Mobilization
3. Place Matters: Interests, Resources, and Opportunities
4. Space, Place, and Mobilization
5. Geographic Scale, Mobilization, and the Representation of Defense Investment
6. Local and Central State Political Opportunity Structures: Material Interests and the Shifting Scale of Struggle

Conclusion: The Difference Geography Makes
Notes
References
Index