Protest is everywhere in American politics. Over the past decade, activists have staged dramatic demonstrations on such diverse issues as the war in Iraq, globalization, standardized testing, and abortion rights. Indeed, protest and social movements have become essential features of contemporary American life. The Politics of Protest offers both a historical overview and an analytical framework for understanding social movements and political protest in American politics. The book suggests that protest movements, clearly an integral part of our nation's history from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement, are hardly confined to the distant past. It argues that protest movements in America reflect and influence mainstream politics. In order to understand our political system-and our social and political world-we need to pay attention to protest.
The Politics of Protest opens with a short history of social movements in the United States, beginning with the development of the American Republic and outlining how the American constitutional design invites protest movements to offer continual challenges. It then discusses the social impulse to protest, considers the strategies and tactics of social movements, looks at the institutional response to protest, and finally examines the policy ramifications. Each chapter includes a brief narrative of a key movement that illustrates the topic covered in that chapter. Drawing students in and clearly demonstrating how and why the subject is of importance to them, the book addresses such topics as Dorothy Day's Catholic Workers' protest against nuclear fallout drills in the 1950s, the Greensboro civil rights sit-in in 1960, and the so-called "Battle in Seattle" anti-globalization rally. Providing a concise, yet lively analysis of social movements in America, The Politics of Protest is ideal for political science or sociology courses that consider social movements and political protest.