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Congratulation to Dr. Neal Caren! He was recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for support of his project, entitled “Collaborative Research: ¬†Collective Action Dynamics in the U.S., 1960-1995.” ¬†He is collaborating with Ed Amenta and Jennifer Earl on this project.

His project examines four important questions about social movements using combined and augmented data from two prior NSF-funded projects, the Dynamics of Collective Action project and the Political Organizations in the News project. First, the project will compare social movement dynamics using data on protest events versus data on social movement organizations (SMOs) with the innovative dataset described above. Second, the project investigates how disruptive tactics affect news media coverage of social movements and social movement organizations by using data on protest events. Given the continued importance of the news media, better understanding the dynamics that drive media attention is an important question for social movement scholars. Third, the project assesses the extent to which protest and the news coverage of SMOs may influence public opinion trends over time. Specifically, we expect that specific types of movement events shape how favorably the movement is perceived, that this shifts over the lifespan of the movement and depends on political responses to the movement. Finally, the project will examine a key methodological issue of interest to researchers: Selection bias suggests that the news media cover only a portion of social life and do so in selective and structured manners. The project will use data on protest events and SMOs to pinpoint the differences between selective reporting on protest events versus the selective reporting on SMOs. Quantitative analyses will rely on negative binomial models, ARMA models, multinomial logistic regressions, as well as time series analysis.

Understanding the dynamics that shape political participation in a democratic context is an issue of broad interest to the general public and policy makers alike. Similarly, furthering our understanding of media coverage and public opinion of political activism is important to a broad set of stakeholders. Findings from this study may be of interest to policy analysts involved in monitoring domestic and international events and trends. Broader impacts also include the creation of publicly available dataset on domestic political activism since 1960 at a scale hitherto unknown. In addition, methodological advances produced in the process of creating the data set, as well as those derived from analysis will be made available to the public. The project will also offer substantial research training to undergraduate and graduate students.

For additional information about the grant: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1153797

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