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Factionalism hampers social movements by pitting elite and marginalized activists against each other rather than uniting them for change
Given their tendency to splinter over tactics and goals, social movements are rarely unified. Following the modern Western animal rights movement over thirty years, Corey Lee Wrenn applies the sociological theory of Bourdieu, Goffman, Weber, and contemporary social movement researchers to examine structural conditions in the animal rights movement, facilitating factionalism in today’s era of professionalized advocacy.
Modern social movements are dominated by bureaucratically oriented nonprofits, a special arrangement that creates tension between activists and movement elites who compete for success in a corporate political arena. Piecemeal Protest examines the impact of nonprofitization on factionalism and a movement’s ability to mobilize, resonate, and succeed. Wrenn’s exhaustive analysis of archival movement literature and exclusive interviews with movement leaders illustrate how entities with greater symbolic capital are positioned to monopolize claims-making, disempower competitors, and replicate hegemonic power, eroding democratic access to dialogue and decision-making essential for movement health.
Piecemeal Protest examines social movement behavior shaped by capitalist ideologies and state interests. As power concentrates to the disadvantage of marginalized factions in the modern social movement arena, Piecemeal Protest shines light on processes of factionalism and considers how, in the age of nonprofits, intra-movement inequality could stifle social progress.