This past weekend, May 3rd and 4th, the Center for the Study of Social Movements hosted the 7th annual John D. McCarthy Lifetime Achievement in the Scholarship of Social Movements and Collective Behavior award lecture and presentation banquet as well as the 4th annual Young Scholars in Social Movements Conference. This year’s McCarthy award was presented to David Snow, a distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine, for his extraordinary achievements in over three decades of social movement research and for the role that he has played in mentoring generations of scholars both within and outside of his own department.
Snow graciously agreed to accept the award and challenged all in attendance to higher scholarship with his acceptance lecture titled, “Social Movements, Framing Processes, and Cultural Revitalization and Fabrication.” In this lecture, Snow proposed and argued for two framing processes, cultural revitalization and fabrication, as commonplace and essential elements of mobilization. Through illustrative examples based on modern hate groups, to the use of Tacitus’s Germania by Himmler, and to the writing of and mobilization around the book of Revelation in the Bible, Snow showed how former cultural artifacts can be revitalized and fabricated into new meanings and used to spur action in ways that were not necessarily the original intent of the cultural object. This breadth of example and illustration showed the analytic utility of these theoretical arguments and was a perfect illustration of the big ideas that led to Snow’s influential scholarship and his winning of this award.
Also in attendance at the McCarthy Award festivities were 13 “young scholars.” These advanced graduate students and newly minted Ph.D.’s each presented their own research and engaged in two days of conversation about cutting edge social movement research. At each of the conference sessions, the young scholars received advice and constructive wisdom from distinguished guests and advanced scholars including David Snow, Rob Benford, Sarah Soule, Catherine Corrigall-Brown, John McCarthy, and many others. Topics and methods varied from participant observation in LGBT activism, to quantitative analysis of the mobilization of Guantanamo lawyers. If these young scholars represent the future of the field, we will be celebrating the McCarthy award for years to come.
Be on the lookout for next year’s McCarthy award and Young Scholars Conference!