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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: June 2012

2 - PATRIOTS, POLITICAL PROCESS, AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

Summary

Too little attention has been paid to right-wing movements among social movement scholars. Indeed, the considerable body of sociological research in social movements over the last forty years has focused on progressive and left-wing movements. This trend continues today, even though conservative or right-wing politics has achieved a degree of hegemony in the American political system. While some critics might take issue with this characterization of social movement scholarship, there is ample support for the argument. An examination of the only specialized journal devoted exclusively to social movement theory and research, Mobilization, illustrates the disproportionality problem. A survey of published articles from the inception of the journal in 1996 through 2005 identified a total of 141 articles covering ten volumes. Of the total number of published articles, only 4 percent (N = 5) focused research activity on conservative or right-wing movements. On the other hand, 67 percent of the articles (N = 95) focused on progressive/left/liberal movements while 2 percent of the articles (N = 3) examined both left- and right-wing movements. Twenty percent (N = 28) addressed theoretical, conceptual, or methodological issues with no specific movement as their focus and 7 percent (N = 10) defied the left–right classification scheme. These numbers convey a pattern that I would contend is generally consistent with the larger body of research on social movements. There is no reason to think that this reputable journal or the scholars who publish in it are atypical.