This book examines anti-corporate activism in the United States, including analysis of anti-corporate challenges associated with social movements as diverse as the Civil Rights Movement and the Dolphin-safe Tuna Movement. Using a unique dataset of protest events in the United States, the book shows that anti-corporate activism is primarily about corporate policies, products, and negligence. Although activists have always been distrustful of corporations and sought to change them, until the 1970s and 1980s, this was primarily accomplished via seeking government regulation of corporations or via organized labor. Sarah A. Soule traces the shift brought about by deregulation and the decline in organized labor, which prompted activists to target corporations directly, often in combination with targeting the state. Using the literatures on contentious and private politics, which are both essential for understanding anti-corporate activism, the book provides a nuanced understanding of the changing focal points of activism directed at corporations.
Sarah A. Soule is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received her BA from the University of Vermont in 1989, her MA from Cornell University in 1991, and her PhD from Cornell University in 1995. Before joining the faculty at Stanford, she was a faculty member at the University of Arizona and Cornell University. Her most recent articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, and Mobilization. She has just completed another book (with David Snow) entitled A Primer on Social Movements and was a co-editor of The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements.
1. Introduction; 2. Understanding social movements, contentions and private politics and their consequences; 3. Anti-corporate protest in the United States, 1960-1990; 4. The effect of protest on university divestment; 5. Private and contentious politics in the post-1990 era; 6. Conclusion.