An analysis of the US Central America peace movement. This work explains why more than 100,000 US citizens marched in the streets, illegally housed refugees, travelled to Central American war zones, committed civil disobedience, and hounded their political representatives to contest the Reagan administration's policy of sponsoring wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Focusing on the movement's three most important national campaigns - Witness for Peace, Sanctuary, and the Pledge of Resistance - this work demonstrates the centrality of morality as a political motivator, highlights the importance of political opportunities in movement outcomes, and examines the social structuring of insurgent consciousness. Based on extensive surveys, interviews, and research, the book aims to increase understanding of the formation of individual activist identities, of national movement dynamics, and of religious resources for political activism.
Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, and director of the Center for Social Research at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including "Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers" and "Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture".
List of Tables and Figures Acknowledgments Acronyms Introduction 1: The Sources of Central American Unrest 2: United States Intervention 3: Low-Intensity Warfare 4: Launching the Peace Movement 5: Grasping the Big Picture 6: The Social Structure of Moral Outrage 7: The Individual Activists 8: Negotiating Strategies and Collective Identity 9: Fighting Battles of Public Discourse 10: Facing Harassment and Repression 11: Problems for Protesters Closer to Home 12: The Movement's Demise 13: What Did the Movement Achieve? 14: Lessons for Social-Movement Theory Appendix: The Distribution and Activities of Central America Peace Movement Organizations Notes Bibliography Index