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Ideological Consistency and Contextual Adaptation : U.S. Peace Movement Emotional Work Before and After 9/11

Maney, Gregory M., Woehrle, Lynne M., Coy, Patrick G.
TheAmerican behavioral scientist 2009 v.53 no.1 pp. 114-132
collective action, fearfulness, longitudinal studies, people, Iraq, United States
The authors examine how the U.S. peace movement responded to the Bush administration’s attempts to generate and capitalize on a heightened sense of threat after the 9/11 attacks. Longitudinal analysis of statements by U.S. peace movement organizations issued before and after 9/11 indicates that the movement’s discourse is both ideologically consistent and contextually adaptive. In each period, movement discourse highlighted the U.S. government as a source of threat and people living outside of the United States as the targets of that threat. Nonetheless, the movement’s discourse changed significantly in the exacerbated climate of fear in the first 4 months after the 9/11 attacks and then began to revert to pre-9/11 patterns during the Iraq War when the salience of threat declined. This research significantly advances knowledge of social movement discourse by establishing that ideological consistency and contextual adaptation are not mutually exclusive, by highlighting the contextual and dialogical factors that encourage certain types of movement responses to dominant discourses, and by explaining the role of emotional work in mobilizing dissent.