Online mobilization strategies by right-wing extremists

graphic: White supremacist podcast network (SPLC link) The surge of right-wing extremism has been evident in the United States for the past five years, including the spread of white supremacist language and activism, armed demonstrations by right-wing militia organizations, violent threats against public officials in health and education agencies, and -- of course -- the violent …

Gilbert on social facts

I am currently thinking about the topic of "organizational actors", and Margaret Gilbert's arguments about social actors are plainly relevant to this topic. It seems worthwhile therefore to reproduce a review I wrote of Gilbert's book On Social Facts (1989) in 1993. It is a tribute to the power of Gilbert's ideas that the book …

Modeling organizational recruitment

One defect of the ABMs considered in the prior post about the emergence of civil conflict is that they do not incorporate the workings of organizations into the dynamics of mobilization. And yet scholars like Tilly (Dynamics of Contention) and Bianco (Peasants without the Party: Grassroots Movements in Twentieth Century China) make it clear that …

Social conflict and group mobilization

source: Du Shiyu and Qi Jiayan, "Multi-agent Modeling and Simulation on Group Polarization Behavior in Web 2.0" An earlier post drew attention to the fact that there are sometimes powerful forces leading to the disintegration of previously peaceful populations of people into violent opposition across groups (link). A population concentrated in a geographical space (city, …

A sense of injustice in China?

  Quite a few years ago Barrington Moore explored in his book Injustice the idea that a sense of justice sometimes plays an important role in history. Here is how he put his central question: This is a book about why people so often put up with being the victims of their societies and why …

Social networks as aggregators

We think of social phenomena as "relational" in some important respect. Individuals contribute to social outcomes through structured and dynamic relationships with other individuals. So outcomes are not just heaps of aggregated individual behavior; rather, they are the filigreed result of interlinked, coordinated, competitive and sometimes unintended actions of people who have intentional and structural …

New thinking about the Red Guards

Andrew Walder has spent almost all of his academic life, on and off, studying the Chinese Cultural Revolution.  In Fractured Rebellion: The Beijing Red Guard Movement (2009) he offers some genuinely new insights into this crucial and chaotic period of China's revolutionary history.  Some historians have focused on the political motivations of Mao and other top leaders in …

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