We have a number of ongoing projects, some of which are described below.
Hahrie Han and Carina Barnett-Loro wrote a piece offering a framework for synthesizing research on movement building that demonstrates ways to focus research on power, and emphasizes the importance of organizing collective contexts in addition to mobilizing individuals to action.
How does a megachurch in America's Rust Belt bring people together across the racial divide?
Hahrie Han, Elizabeth McKenna and Andrea Campbell have a paper introducing the concept of civic feedbacks, which argues that the ways organizations engage individuals have feedbacks that shape the strategic position of organizations and the strategic options available to leaders.
Hahrie is working with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and the PICO National Network on multi-year field experiments designed to study the effects of integrated voter engagement (IVE) models. As described in PICO’s 2015 report on its Let My People Vote program, IVE sits at the intersection of voter engagement and issue-based organizing. The goal of IVE programs is not just to win elections, but also to strengthen democracy, by building the power of constituencies to govern between elections and secure policy wins that reflect their interests. These IVE studies are designed to build our understanding of how specific practices affect turnout, especially among low-propensity voters, but also to look at the impact of organizing on voters’ and volunteers’ sense of agency and political efficacy (which are key determinants of long term civic engagement), how to increase our collective capacity to organize across race, gender and other differences, and how to translate the power built during elections into far-reaching policy change.
Hahrie is working with Nate Deshmukh Towery and UCSB graduate student Aaron Sparks to analyze data on people’s pathways into environmental activism. What kinds of experiences catalyze people into activism? What is the relationship between online and offline activity? This project will describe patterns of activism within one major international environmental organization, to examine how people engage with the organization after joining. Read the paper here.
This paper examines the role that democratic organizations play in fostering political activism in America. Activists make democracy work by attending meetings, engaging others, trying to make their voice heard, and participating in myriad other ways. Yet we have a limited understanding of what role organizations play in cultivating that activism. The paper presents data from three field experiments showing that creating a relational organizational context makes targets more likely to sign petitions, recruit others, and attend meetings. The paper argues that civic organizations can have a powerful impact on activism. In doing so, it challenges individualistic models of participation and introduces a new set of variables related to organizational context to consider in understanding the sources of participation. The paper thus extends a burgeoning body of experimental research on voter mobilization to examine forms of activism that are increasingly common modes of citizen involvement in the twenty-first century.