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The Only Constant is ChangeTechnology, Political Communication, and Innovation Over Time$
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Ben Epstein

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190698980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190698980.001.0001

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Innovation by Political Outsiders

Innovation by Political Outsiders

Why Social Movements Innovate Early and Why It Rarely Matters

(p.118) 6 Innovation by Political Outsiders
The Only Constant is Change

Ben Epstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores communication innovations made by American social movements over time. These movements share political communication goals and outsider status, which helps to connect innovation decisions across movements and across time. The chapter primarily explores two long-lasting movements. First is the women’s suffrage movement, which lasted over seventy years of the print era from the mid-nineteenth century until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Next is the long-lasting fight against racial discrimination, which led to the modern civil rights movement starting in the print era, but coming of age along with television during the 1950s and 1960s. Both the women’s suffrage movement and civil rights movement utilized innovative tactics with similarly mild results until mainstream coverage improved. Finally, these historical movements are compared with movements emerging during the internet era, including the early Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Resist movement.

Keywords:   social movements, women’s suffrage movement, civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter, Tea Party, Resist movement, Occupy Wall Street, resource mobilization theory, political process theory, Doug McAdam

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