In The Art of Moral Protest, James Jasper integrates diverse examples of protest—from nineteenth-century boycotts to recent movements—into a distinctive new understanding of how social movements work. Jasper highlights their creativity, not only in forging new morals but in adopting courses of action and inventing organizational forms.
"A provocative perspective on the cultural implications of political and social protest."—Library Journal
This book offers a provocative perspective on the cultural implications of political and social protest. Sociology professor Jasper has already written on the antinuclear and animal-rights protest movements. In this more ambitious work, he surveys the relevant social science literature and finds that scholars are all too often unaware of or unconcerned with the creative, subjective side of protest activity, focusing instead on structural explanations that discount the consciousness of the individuals involved. James asks, "Why do our thoughts about the world lead us so often to want to change it? What moral visions inspire outrage about often-distant practices and institutions?" Drawing on research and personal observation, he discusses the dynamics underlying a number of different social movements. Concluding that protest is a "necessity," James argues that the "gift of protesters is that they create controversy, [which]... leads to the weighting and testing of perspectives and values." The extensive notes and bibliography attests to Jasper's deep immersion in his topic. Recommended for academic collections.Kent Worcester, Marymount Manhattan Coll., New York