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Leaving Seattle

You've been waiting with baited breath, I know. Well I'm home. Actually, I think both readers of this blog already know this. If it's news to you, by all means leave a comment so I can feel good that you care. We're trying to build a loving community here, so feel free to express yourself. This is a safe space.

No, I didn't accomplish enough in Seattle, but I did come away with 22 interviews and a better idea of the scope of this undertaking. There are way more activist organizations out there than I'd expected (call me naive, but where do you expect me to begin?). It remains to be seen how I'm going to learn about all of them. Most likely I'll have to select a random sample and do some phone interviews, internet searches, and I'll consider making a return trip up there. Consequently, graduation will have to wait until 2008.

Some broad patterns are already apparent. Environmentalism and peace activism have dominated Seattle activism since 1999, at least in terms of organizational density. The religious community has an oblique presence in the field, playing more of a supporting role than an activist one. Organizations here use surprisingly few confrontational tactics. Instead they choose one of two general models and stick to them, lobbying and targeting decisionmakers ("interest group politics") or protesting and emphasizing public outreach and education ("grassroots activism"). Why in the world would anyone choose one model over the other?

But, methodological questions at the moment far exceed theoretical ones.

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“Leaving Seattle”

  1. Blogger marc Says:

    Interesting research. From my activist days in various manifestations, I have at least one answer to your question: Because they take up so much time! I worked for a legislative-based org, then i volunteered for an activist based org. Inevitably (hopefully) these organizations link together, each focusing on what they do best.

    Very impressive blog layout, by the way. Looking forward to seeing more