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Occupy as a free space - mobilization processes and outcomes

Occupy as a free space - mobilization processes and outcomes
Occupy as a free space - mobilization processes and outcomes
Although Occupy has received extensive media and scholarly attention, there has not yet been systematic research on its activists’ recruitment pathways and modes of participation. In this article, we focus on the mobilization success (Staggenborg 1995) of Occupy and adopt the concepts of ‘free space’ and ‘modes of association’ (Polletta 1999) to understand how individuals came to participate in Occupy. We consider biographical and structural availability and make distinctions between those more or less involved. By drawing on qualitative and quantitative data gathered in November and December 2011 in London we find that Occupy activists take a range of pathways into differential forms of involvement (more or less visible or time-consuming, offline and on-line). Some participants had previously been involved in social movement and ’indigenous’ organisations, like the church. Yet at the same time Occupy attracted novices lacking prior engagement in indigenous or social movement organisations. But what Occupy activists shared was an interest in creating inclusive prefigurative structures where the ‘path was the destination’. In contrast to the mass media’s scepticism of the success of Occupy, our focus on mobilization processes and outcomes shows Occupy to be successful in this regard.
free spaces, online activism, prefigurative politics, occupy, recruitment, social movements
1360-7804
1-40
Roth, Silke
cd4e63d8-bd84-45c1-b317-5850d2a362b6
Saunders, Clare
92bd75f3-076a-4e11-b563-61b7fb094b73
Olcese, Cristiana
93a57710-3a05-4a91-b418-45fa104891a2
Roth, Silke
cd4e63d8-bd84-45c1-b317-5850d2a362b6
Saunders, Clare
92bd75f3-076a-4e11-b563-61b7fb094b73
Olcese, Cristiana
93a57710-3a05-4a91-b418-45fa104891a2

Roth, Silke, Saunders, Clare and Olcese, Cristiana (2014) Occupy as a free space - mobilization processes and outcomes. Sociological Research Online, 19 (1), 1-40. (doi:10.5153/sro.3201).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Although Occupy has received extensive media and scholarly attention, there has not yet been systematic research on its activists’ recruitment pathways and modes of participation. In this article, we focus on the mobilization success (Staggenborg 1995) of Occupy and adopt the concepts of ‘free space’ and ‘modes of association’ (Polletta 1999) to understand how individuals came to participate in Occupy. We consider biographical and structural availability and make distinctions between those more or less involved. By drawing on qualitative and quantitative data gathered in November and December 2011 in London we find that Occupy activists take a range of pathways into differential forms of involvement (more or less visible or time-consuming, offline and on-line). Some participants had previously been involved in social movement and ’indigenous’ organisations, like the church. Yet at the same time Occupy attracted novices lacking prior engagement in indigenous or social movement organisations. But what Occupy activists shared was an interest in creating inclusive prefigurative structures where the ‘path was the destination’. In contrast to the mass media’s scepticism of the success of Occupy, our focus on mobilization processes and outcomes shows Occupy to be successful in this regard.

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Accepted/In Press date: 23 September 2013
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 March 2014
Published date: 2014
Keywords: free spaces, online activism, prefigurative politics, occupy, recruitment, social movements
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 362661
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362661
ISSN: 1360-7804
PURE UUID: 53af0253-d1d3-402e-bb86-7cf79e89c633
ORCID for Silke Roth: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8760-0505

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Date deposited: 03 Mar 2014 15:20
Last modified: 27 Jan 2020 13:41

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Contributors

Author: Silke Roth ORCID iD
Author: Clare Saunders
Author: Cristiana Olcese

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