Friday, April 23, 2021 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Presenters: Melanie Brazzell (UC Santa Barbara)
Sergio Cabrales (University of Pittsburgh)
Join us as we hear about and discuss research carried out by advanced PhD students, faculty, postdocs, and movement based activist scholars. This workshop is a new collaborative exchange between academic institutions with specialties in disciplined social movement research.
Melanie Brazzell’s research and activism, housed in the What really makes us safe? Project, focuses on transformative justice alternatives to prison and policing, particularly for sexual and partner violence. A Chancellor’s fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara and predoctoral fellow at the P3 Lab at Johns Hopkins (2021-22), Melanie currently explores participatory research as a movement building tool through collaborations with the Momentum Community and the Realizing Democracy Project.
MeToo united around the problem of gender-based violence but was divided on the solution – some advocate law enforcement remedies, while others critique these as “carceral feminist” collusion with racialized mass incarceration. How was the anti-violence movement coopted into a conservative law-and-order politics? Through an analysis of anti-violence movement history from the 1970s to the 1990s, I identify how cooptation occurred from five movement-centric perspectives: framing, identity, strategy, organization, and resources. Abolitionist feminists at the intersections of both anti-racist and feminist movements have pointed out the need for both to recognize the other’s contribution: that interpersonal violence must be understood in the context of state violence and vice versa, in order to develop responses that address both gender and race-based oppressions and meet the intersectional needs of survivors. This “intersectional mobilization” has led in the last twenty years to the creation of community-based alternatives to the criminal legal system for sexual and partner violence under the banner of transformative justice. Drawing on my ethnographic and interview research, I find that transformative justice activists seek to (re)vitalize anti-violence organizing from each of the five perspectives named above, in part by returning to earlier anti-violence practices lost in the process of cooptation.
Sergio Cabrales is a Ph.D. sociology student at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on social movements and protests, education, and youth in Central America. In his Master's thesis, he studied the role of the Catholic Church in the 2018 wave of protest in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua faced in 2018 a cycle of contention against the rule of Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista leader. His government displayed hybrid democratic features until that year but responded to an unexpected massive uprising with lethal violence. With repressive interaction that successfully crushed the mobilization, his administration consolidated an authoritarian regime, which persists until today. This talk analyzes this transformation amid that cycle of contention. The protest event analysis techniques describe the dynamics of that mobilization, which comprised more than 2,000 demonstrations in less than six months.