Exploring what is new about the Occupy Movement

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Exploring what is new about the Occupy Movement the relevancy of culture in understanding Occupy Denver
Oscarson, Aj ( author )
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University of Colorado Denver
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Culture ( lcsh )
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In September 2011 a social movement started in New York City, dubbed the Occupy Movement. It grew to hundreds of cities within weeks. The movement had social movement theorists scrambling to keep up with the bizarrely organized and seemingly chaotic movement. In October of 2011, Cornell University professor and the preeminent scholar of social movement theory, Sidney Tarrow, states that Occupy was a movement of a completely new type ["Why Occupy Wall Street is Not the Tea Party of the Left" in Foreign Affairs]. This research accepts Tarrow's claim and attempts to build on it as a way to augment social movement theory. I believe that past paradigms in American social movement theory neglect the role of culture in movement formation and progression and that Occupy is ultimately a cultural resistance movement against the authoritarian and hierarchical structure currently employed. This thesis uses a companion film to demonstrate the analytical points made in
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver. Anthropology
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by Aj Oscarson.

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! EXPLORING WHAT IS NEW ABOUT THE OCCU P Y MOVEMENT: THE RELEVANCY OF CULTURE IN UNDERSTANDING OCCUPY DENVER By AJ O SCARSON B.A. University of Wisconsin River Falls 2005 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment o f the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Anthropology 2014


! ii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by AJ Oscarson has been approved for the Department of Anthropology b y Marty Ota–ez, Chair Julien Riel Salvatore Julie A. Reyes April 21, 2014


! iii Oscarson, AJ (M.A., Anthropology) Exploring What is New A bout th e Occupy Movement: The Relevancy of Culture in U nderstanding Occupy Denver Thesis directed by Associate Professor Marty Ota–ez ABSTRACT In September 2011 a social movement started in New York City, dubbed the Occupy Movement. It grew to hundreds of cities within weeks. The movement had social movement theorists scrambling to keep up with the bizarrely organized and seemingly chaotic movement. In October of 2011, Cornell University professor and the preeminent scholar of social movement theory, S i dney Tarro w, stat es that Occupy was a movement of a completely new type ["Why Occupy Wall Street is Not the Tea Party of the Left" in Foreign Affairs ]. This research accepts Tarrow's claim and attempts to build on it as a way to augment social movement theory. I bel ieve that past paradigms in American social movement theory neglect the role of culture in movement formation and progression and that Occupy is ultimately a cultural resistance movement against the authoritarian and hierarchical structure currently employ ed. This thesis uses a companion film to demonstrate the analytical points made in building the case of culture in social movement theory. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Marty Ota–ez


! iv DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my parents, Roy and Jody Oscarson for their (somehow) unflinching support.


! v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank the University of Colorado Denver for the opportunity to research this topic. I would also like to thank Dr. Marty Ota–ez for his support throughout this project and his guidance in visual anthropology. Many thanks go to Drs. Riel Sal vatore and Reyes for their assistance on this project and thesis.


! vi The film portion of this thesis can be found at Title: The Bottom Up Password: Thesis


! vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 1 Overview of the Occupy Movement ................................ ................................ ............................ 3 Research Question ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 4 Relevancy of Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 4 II. THEORY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 6 Underlying Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 6 Structuralist Film Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 9 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 12 Resource Mobilization ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 13 Political Opportunity Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 15 Current Paradigms (Contentious Politics) ................................ ................................ .................. 16 The Cultural Turn ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 17 New Social Movement Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 18 III. METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 24 Participant Observation ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 24 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 25 Digital Media ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 26 IV. ANALYSIS ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 29 What's Not New ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 29 The Demands ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 30 The Leadership ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 31 The New Movement And New Social Movement Theory ................................ ........................ 33 The Symbolic Motivations of the Occupy Movement ................................ ............................... 36


! viii The 99% ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 38 V. CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 42 APPENDI X A. The T argeting of P hotographers/V ideographers at Occupy Denver ................................ ..... 48 B. List of G rievances by Occu py Wall Street ................................ ................................ ............ 49 C. Video Transcript ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 51 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 54


! ix LIST OF FIGURES FIGURES 1. Culture and Politics ... ... 7 2. The Progression of Social Movements as Defined by Resource Mobilization . 14 3. Social Movement Theories ... .2 2 4 Average Time per Month Spent Doing Fieldwork ... .23


! x LIST OF IMAGES IMAGES 1. Adbusters Poster.......... ........... ..3 2. The Kuleshov Effect ... ...11 3. Police Aggression on Film ... . .26


! 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The Occupy Movement started in September of 2011 with a proclamation made by the magazine, Adbusters (Lasn, 2011) Adbusters is an ad free, anarchistic magazine based in Canada that rails against consumerism, major corporations and capitalism. It is a visual magazine that is known for making claims often unsubstantiated ones, against authority and the superstructure. The content focuses on the emotion and anger in the counter c ulture, and is not rooted in dominant, traditional journalistic principles. The magazine published a one page statement saying "#OCCUPYWALLSTREET SEPTEMBER 17TH. BRING TENT with the image of a ballerina atop the Wall Street Bull It didn't say why ; it of fered no other information. Approximately 1,000 people showed up on that weekend in New York City and the movement then snowballed to hundreds of cities and beyond the borders of America within weeks. It is difficult to state why the movement snowballed the way it did. At some level it must have struck a chord with general population. Whether that is anger towards the 1 percent, a congress with poor satisfaction polls or any number of other issues is b eyond the scope of this study. The majority of individuals who participated in this study, however, stated that they were there for wholesale change or as Tanner Spendley states in the accompanying video "shit's fucked up and bullshit." It is this gene ral ire for the system that Adbusters thrives on and perpetuates. Kalle Lasn, the editor of Adbusters has a history of anarchistic writings (1999; 2006) and often calls Adbusters his attempt at "culture jamming" an anti consumerism act that attempts to subvert th e media. And as this piece will show, culture plays a large


! 2 role in understanding the movement. On the surface, however, the Occupiers saw the movement as an extension of the Arab Spring (Milkman, Lewis, & Luce, 2013) but in my experience doi ng ethnographic and visual work in Occupy Denver in 201 1 2012 the Arab Spring only served as inspiration for a revolution, and not as blueprints or a model. Very rarely were there ever discussions about the Arab Spring during my eight months and approximately 436 hours of fieldwork. O ther than it being seen as a successful uprising, the participants in my study rarely brought up the Arab Spring By applying the toolset of anthropology via participant observation and a focus on culture, I address Tarrow's position that Occupy is a completely new type of movement something unseen in the field of social movement studies Furthermore, this study is relevant to anthropology due to the lack of robust scholarship by anthropologists i n social movement theory and the wide array of toolsets unique to anthropology in comparison to other disciplines. The need for an understanding of culture in Occupy is demonstrated by the video. The video only speaks with three individuals from Occupy Den ver, but represent the thoughts and motivations of my participants on the whole. No doubt there are many more voices and considerations than this research or video can document. The individuals who appear on camera, however are representative of the data I received at Occupy Denver.


! 3 Overview of the Occupy Movement The Occupy Movement is a social movement that was triggered by Adbusters magazine in September 2011 The poster appeared in the magazine without context or reason. Lasn stated in an interview with the New York Times that the poster was simply a meme, meant as a piece of art to be provocative and feel like the dream of an Occupier (Yardley, 2011) Notable elements are clearly the Wall Street Bull, a dancer, and the lesser noticed civilians wearing gas masks appearing to prep for a riot. The movement is leaderless and never created a list of demands or solutions. The tactics included nonviolent protest (sit ins, die ins, marches etc ), public and private space occupation and a democratic process called general assemblies. General assemblies are organized meetings in which anyone/everyone is invited to come and discuss issues pertaining to the movement or issues with the larger scope of grievances. Issues would be discussed then could be offered up to a vote. It is through this process that Occupy Denver made decisions and "spoke" to those Image 1. Adbusters poster This poster showed up in the September issue of Adbusters without context or further information.


! 4 outside the movement. It is stated clearly that no one individual sp eaks for Occupy, based on the opposition to leadership and authority. Research Question This thesis is comprised of a traditional text analysis and a scholarly video that seeks to answer the question what is new about Occupy. The Occupy Movement was dubbed a movement of a completely new type by S i dney Tarrow the leading social movement scholar of the last 20 years. This research will answer the question what is new about Occupy by utilizing ethnographic fieldwork over the course of eight months begi nning September of 2011 at the Occupy Denver encampment. The video will provide context, background and analysis of the Occupy Movement as well as past and present social movement theory. Relevancy of Research This research will expand on a long history of social movement theory provided largely by sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists. Social movement theory is defined as the study of collective social mobilization that is geared towards political social and cultural change. As the U.S culture changes, so does its response to power and control. The Occupy Movement on the surface is a response to social and political powers, and garnered hundreds of thousands of adherents within weeks of inception, seeing the greatest growth and apex be tween October and December 2011. It is important to understand so as to better understand the role power and resistance plays in our culture (Pickerill & Krinsky, 2012) In regards to social movement theory, Tarrow's assertion that Occupy is a completely new type of movement reflects my struggle with finding a theoretical paradigm that fit what I was seeing at Occupy. After spending two months at


! 5 Occupy I began looking for theories that would help explain the movement and found nothing. That is when I found the article by Tarrow who claimed Occupy was a completely new type of movement which would explain why I found no American paradigms that fit what I was seeing at Occupy. Accordingly, this piece does not challenge Tarrow's claim, but opts to investigate his claim. Anthropologically, s ocial movements occupy the space between this dialectic in the push and pull for power and are critical to bringing about change to society (Marx, 1994) This allows us, as researchers, to investigate the larger st ructure of the system. This is important because Occupy is the first major response to class war in the United States in the last thirty years (Chomsky, 2012) providing us with a great opportunity to explore power and resistance in r eal time. Occupy provides an opportunity for in depth study because of its constant presence making participant observation a viable method of study. Furthermore, the role of digital cameras and the use of social media in the sharing and creation of videos and photos provides me with an opportunity to visually document social change and direct action in real time. The visual aspect of th e thesis uses digital video obtain ed from social media video sharing sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo. These videos are sh ared by Occupiers in Denver and nationally as a tool to investigate their perception of the movement, in an attempt to get closer to what they feel Occupy is and what it is about.


! 6 CHAPTER II THEORY Underlying Assumptions This piece is influenced by a few fundamental principles of anthropology. First, Ortner (1995) states that to provide a representation of subjects and to understand their resistance, it is not enough to provide better portraits of the subjects (1995 : 184): The importance of subjects (whether individual actors or social entities) lies not so much in who they are and how they are put together as in the projects that they construct and enact. For it is in the formulation and enactment of those projects that they both become and transform who t hey are, and that they sustain or transform t heir social and cultural universe. This piece address es how individuals who participated in the Occupy Movement constructed the movement and what the m ovement meant to these individuals. To accomplish this, I believe power is fundamentally at the center of the movement and that social movement studies have a long history of using the lens of political economy for unearthing movements (Jackson & Chen, 2012) Gitlin (1980) states that to understand social movements it is important to understand Gramsci's position on culture and how it is important in molding hegemony and resistance. Doing so allows researchers to see the superstructure that is cri tical to studies in political economy. The definition of superstructure that will be used in this research reflects that of Marxist theory in which society is comprised of the dialectic of the base and superstructure. The base consists of property, work an d relations and the superstructure consists of the institutions that have been created by the people i.e. political structures, roles etc. Given this dialectic, the


! 7 base informs the superstructure and, in turn, the superstructure influences the base. U ltimately, my research demonstrates that the Occupy Movement is attempting to subvert the culture of the superstructure by creating a demonstration of values through protest. By crea ting a movement that demonstrates the inverse structure and ethos of the superstructure the movement mean s to show that a different approach is possible. So, for example, while the Occupiers have issue with corporate oil, the larger issue s are corporate personhood, large subsidies and cronyism, to name a few. It is the superst ructure that allows these advantages to the elites and leaves the remaining people (the 99 percent ) with few resources. In creating this opposit ion culture, the Occupiers push the boundary of accepted American social movement theory by making scholars ac knowledge culture in a larger way, placing the role of culture in the front seat and the socio political in the back seat I believe that an understanding and acknowledgement of the role of culture in the creation and construction of the Occupy Movement is what is new about the movement. Culture is also left out of consideration in previous American paradigms Tarrow's paradigms in American social movement theory are created in a way that situates everything as political, and as such, are unable to account for a cultural movement. A few of the Occupiers I spoke with, vocalized their desires for political reformation, typically by arguing the case for a leader that could be elected into office. The majority, however, were there to make a cultural statement ab out the way things are oftentimes this took the form of voting against leadership, because they felt this sent a stronger message to those outside the movement. This is the difference in Occupy and I believe that much of American Life is political in nature, but not all of it is u ltimately, everything is cultural but not necessarily political see Figure 1 for a visual


! 8 demonstration T his research demonstrates that the poli tical is informed by the cultural and that to paradigmatically shift the political at the macro scale, the culture has to shift. The Occupy Movement has to be addressed with culture in mind as a cultural divide between the elites and power holders continue to separate them from the Occupiers. The data demonstrates that opposing the culture of the elites lies at the heart of the Occupy Movement and it is this fundamental motivator that is missed when applying Tarrow's current theoretical paradigm because there is no way to account for the role of culture in a politically rooted perspective. Lastly it is important to define a social movement. One of the defining scholars of the field, Tilly (1998: 469) states: A social movement consists of a sustained challenge to power holders in the name of population living under the jurisdiction of those power holders by means of repeated public displays of that population's numbers, commitment, unity and worthines s. It is Tilly's four facets [ worthiness, unity, numbers and commitment ] that define and categorize a social movement. Defining social movements highlights the difference Figure 1 Politics and Culture. This research posits that culture is the foundation of politics and that the Occupy Movement is an attempt to shift U.S. c ulture as means to shift the current political structure. Diagram created by author.


! 9 between a social movement and a riot, for example, which typically ha s little or no u nity. In the case of the Occupy Movement, these facets are readily apparent. Worthiness is demonstrated in how the population of the movement varied greatly across faith, race and age. They have unity identified by their bond to each other as evidenced by food sharing (noted in the video portion of this analysis) and unity under the 99 percent moniker It has demonstrated numbers with rallies numbering more than 2,000 in Denver during October 2011 and the May 12 th 2012 protest rallied approximately 20,000 marchers (Schneider, 2011) in New York Lastly, the Occupiers have demonstrated commitment to the movement with the website reporting more than 7,000 arrests related to the Occupy Movement. These four facets of social movements can readily be seen in the Occupy Movement and therefore this research accepts that the Occupy Movement is a social move ment. Structuralist Film Theory [ Author's Note: The following section on structuralist film theory is not related to the research undertaken in the field. It is, however, relevant to the film portion of this research insomuch as it explains the cuts and sequencing used. It is not pertinent to the analyses or understanding of the research contained. Accordingly, it may be passed over by the reader if desired. ] The scholarly video that comprises the second portion of this thesis is designed with certain pr inciples in mind. First and foremost the video is constructed in a way to allow the Occupiers interviewed in the study to speak for themselves to display for the viewer what the adherent s vision of the movement is and how this vision aids in the understanding of social movement theory in relation to the Occupy Movement. I apply structuralist film theory in the construction of the companion video. Structuralist film theory was an experimen tal movement beginning the 1960s (Gidal, 1976) as artists


! 10 experimented with the structure of films as the priority and content as peripheral. After the experimental phase, the structural approach became more mainstream as dire ctors started concerning themselves with more static shots that demonstrated strong c omposition. This is reflected in the composition of interviews intended to display depth of character. For example, I employ the use of jump cuts intended to emphasize the fact that I am making a cut in the interview. This is done for a few reasons. One is to demonstrate the depth at which the Occupiers conceived the movement by recreating visually a written sentence structure that uses clauses. Second, I feel confident in the cuts and that they do not in any way change the meaning of what the Occupiers stated in interviews. By making the cuts clear and obvious, I call attention to the cut and choose not to hide it in B roll (B roll is supplemental footage that cut into the main footage) which may be misleading to the viewer. Lastly, I do this for issues of time. To save time by cutting out less relevant parts of dialogue and create a quicker pace for the viewer, creating a more visually compelling element. Structuralist film theory is similar to other schools of structuralism in that a lot of information can be gleaned from the structure, as in the structure of language, for example. Accordingly, the companion video, integrates and juxtaposes still, set up shots of Occup iers with film shot by them in an attempt to offer emic perspectives because this is literally what they saw on the ground, and these images were prevalent in social media and was reproduced over and over again. Juxtaposing these two set ups show the reali ties of the movement, while demonstrating an explanation of it. An example of the importance of cuts, structure and juxtaposition, structuralist film theory is evidenced by what is called the Kuleshov Effect. The Kuleshov Effect is an experimental piece of film


! 11 in which shots of an expressionless man are alternated with various shots such as a bowl of soup, and a girl in a coffin When viewers saw the piece, they praised the actor for his subtlety and emotion (Sargeant, 2000) In reality, each cut to the a ctor was the exact same clip showed over and over, and viewers believe they saw him reacting to different items that they were seeing. The viewer's reactions to the juxtaposition of clips were projected onto the actor and serves as an example that viewers draw information from films based on their structure. The visual piece uses the Kuleshov Effect not to draw out emotion but as a way to provide more information to the viewer about the central thesis of this piece of what is Image 2. The Kuleshov Effect To the left are stills from the experimental film by Kuleshov The film shows an actor in the frame on the left and continued with a shot of a girl in a coffin. Then a shot of the actor again, followed by a bowl of soup. The actor was hailed for his subtly in expressions from grief, to hunger. The Kuleshov Effect re veals itself in the secret that the same clip of the actor was used for each cut and the viewers were projecting their emotions and feelings onto the actor. Ultimately it is a study of film composition and juxtaposition.


! 12 new about Occupy that being the position that Occupy is a not necessarily a new typ e of movement, but rather a more culturally derived movement than previously seen in the United States The Kuleshov E ffect is used in the video to allow the viewer to connect the varying elements of the Occupy Movement and experience the movement through the lived realities of Occupiers For example, Tarrow's discussion of the Occupy Movement notes that the anti war, anti discrimination movement of the 1960s is most similar to the Occupy Movement, but that Occupy is sti ll completely new. To show this, I juxtapose Tanner Spendley stating that "Normally when you get people together for a movement, they already have some preconceived notions and you kind of already know that, hey, we're going to agree on certain things," with footage from the anti war protests of the 1960s. This juxtaposition is to demonstrate and awareness of how different the Occupy Movement is. Image 3. A demonstration of the Kuleshov Effect in video portion of this thesis. Literature Review Social movement theory has progressed greatly over the last half century as the field as moved from economically based perspectives to politically based What follows is a brief overview of past paradigms designed to demonstrate that contemporary and past paradig ms cannot account for the Occupy Movement and how it is different from


! 13 movements of the past at the scope for which Tarrow's statement requires (i e certain aspects of the movement may be explained via past perspectives, but they cannot outline and explai n the movement the issue at the center of this research) This brief discussion is meant to show the past paradigms that could be applied to understanding the Occupy Movement, all of which are within the reach of Tarrow. Accordingly, Tarrow did not apply these paradigms to Occupy because it must be clear that these past perspectives are insufficient for addressing Occupy. To understand his claim, we must first understand the paradigms that failed to address the movement. Then, this research can address what is new about the movement. The paradigms discussed below demonstrate the history of social movement theory and its inability to account for the role of culture in social movements such as Occupy. These paradigms are not theoretical approac hes to this study, but rather meant to demonstrate the history of social movement theory and how it does not relate to the Occupy Movement. They are laid out chronologically as they exist in social movement theory history. The paradigms of resource mobiliz ation, political opportunity theory and contentious politics were ostensibly applied to Occupy by Tarrow, who noted that the movement fits in none of these paradigms, putting Occupy in a class all its own ( Below is a chart of social movement theories summarized below, Figure 3 ). Resource Mobilization Resource mobilization essentially started in the 1960s with Zald and Ash's (1966) seminal work, Social Movement Organizations: Growth, Decay and Change At its base, resource mobilization looks at the use of resources, such as financial capitol and labor (McCarthy & Zald, 197 7) Resources must be mobilized and external support needs to be employed to combat the tactics used by authorities and to increase the voice provided by


! 14 the movement. By properly using resources, movements were able to grow out of grassroots discontent into a social movement, before progressing into a social movement organization. Once at the level of a social movement organization, individuals could nominate individuals for political seats, lobby officials and create nonprofits. Figure 2. The Progression of Social Movement as Defined by Resource Mobilization. According to the resource mobilization paradigm, social movements progress in a pattern, from grassroots discontent, to social movement and then to a social movement organization (often in the form of a nonprofit). Diagram created by author.


! 15 Given this fundamental belief, resource mobilization is formalist in nature and utilizes a scientific model to unearth the "truth behind social sciences," (Tilly, 2004 : 597) The paradigm faded from prominence during the 1970s as theorists came to believe that it was too formulaic (Piven & Cloward, 1991) and was an attempt to mimic the domi nant social science at the time which was economics (Olson, 1965; Tarrow, 2011b) Occupy has not progresse d in such a way not for a lack of success, but because t his progression is not their goal. Political Opportunity Theory Political opportunity theory, sometimes called political participation theory, took over as the dominant paradigm in place of resource mobilization during the late 1970s and 1980s. It is roo ted in political sociology via structures of domination and the dynamism of the political process (Nachtigal, 1994) Political opportunity theory states that as power and political control swing from left to right and/or from one group of elites to another, gaps of opportunity open up and grassroots discontent is able to capitalize on it. As Eisinger states (1972 : 22) : The degree to which political opportunity structures are open or closed is not only a function of formal government structure, the dist ribution of certain skills and status, representative, and governmental responsiveness. Opportunity is also related to the social stability of the potentially mobilizable population. Many sub paradigm theories exist in which researchers debate the greatest opportunity for mobilization. Whether it is intra competition between elites (Zirakzadeh, 1997) or gaps in the political structure (Meyer, 2004; Meyer & Minkof f, 2004) the questions and objectives were the same to assume and identify what happened at the political structure


! 16 level to allow for mobilization. Doing so means opportunity is only available in the Left, Right current political structure. No theor ist, as of yet, has found the political opportunity that Occupy is able to capitalize on, making this paradigm not applicable for this study. Political opportunity theory, however, does begin to make way for cultural underpinnings in movements. Political o pportunity theorists acknowledged culture was important but considered it a subjective lens through which people discovered their beliefs (Polletta, 2008 ) If there were a political opportunity that is taken advantage of by Occupy, Tarrow would have seen it, and addressed the issue accordingly Current Paradigms (Contentious Politics) An understanding of current paradigms is i mportant because Tarrow i s well versed in all past social movement theory, and is known for developing contentious politics, the accepted current American paradigm. Tarrow however, stated that Occupy is a completely new type of movement, which means past and current paradigms are insufficient for the understanding the Occupy Movement. Therein lies the new ness of Occupy. If Tarrow states that Occupy is a completely new typ e of movement, it must exist outside current accepted paradigms. The current social movement paradigm here in the United States (a discussion about, and the relevancy of European social movement theory is below), is contentious politics. Tarrow, is consid ered a key social movement theorist today and contentious politics is essentially the paradigm he created to augment political opportunity theory. What is interesting about contentious politics, is that it does not replace resource mobilization or politica l opportunity theory, because it is designed as a means of identifying movements (Meyer & Sta ggenborg, 1996) Tarrow (2011b) defines


! 17 contentious politics as collective challenges (interrupting, obst ructing or blocking certain activities), common purposes (to mount common claims against opponents, authorities, or elites), social solidarities (a common, and continued bond within protesters) and sustained interaction with elites, opponents and authoriti es. The last two aspects are doubly important to the paradigm social solidarities and sustained interaction with elites. Tarrow states that solidarity is important because it demonstrates the difference between a social movement and a flash of contention as in a riot. Rioters typically do not feel a deeper connection to the person next to them. Sustained interaction is important because without it, individuals and the movement fall into category of resistance' category, similar to Scott's (1985) Weapons of the Weak Edelman's (2002) study of Costa Rican farmers, who have created a culture of resistance, is more akin to a study of resistance than a social movement. He claims that the farmer's resistance does not quite fit into Tarrow's paradigm of contentious politics beca use the farmers are not engaged with elites and, accordingly, is more aligned with a study like Scott's and similar works. The Cultural Turn Bringing in the study of culture has been dubbed the cultural turn' and has been gaining ground since the 1980s (Foran, 1993; Goodwin, 2001; Selbin, 1993) Swidler, one of the first sociologists who applied culture to studies in social movements proposed that an analysis of culture provides a "tool kit" of symbols, stories, rituals and world views (Swidler, 1986) She states that looking at strategies of action are based on culture's causal effect on peop le, and notes that it does not define the action, but that culture is used to construct strategies. Cruz (Cruz, 2012) states that cultural awareness in social movements in future studies will be difficult to divorce due to the growing


! 18 awareness of framing, strategies and identity. To do so, theorists must break out of the structuralist approach that has helped la y out social movement theory in the past, such as in Goodwin and Jasper (Goodwin, 2004) This research is couched in this reasonin g. Movements will have to be addressed with culture in mind as a cultural divide between the elites and power holders continues to separate them from the Occupier Upon identifying and analyzing a range of theories used to investigate social movements, I w ill next discuss the methods of my research Followed by an analysis of the Occupy Denver Movement as an approach for investigating Tarrow's claim that Occupy is a completely new type of movement. New Social Movement Theory T he paradigms discussed a bove are all American based theories. Resource mobilization, political opportunity theory and contentious politics may be relevant for the categorization and research of most social movements, but, as Tarrow states (2011a) these paradigms are unable to appr oach an understanding of the Occupy Movement because Occupy is a type of movement unseen previously This research posits that understanding what is new about Occupy will aid in identifying a suitable paradigm and be integral in future studies of social mo vements Occupy and otherwise. Tarrow only acknowledges (with any great weight) American paradigms. What follows is a discussion about new social movement theory a paradigm created and developed in Europe. European scholars avoided political opportunity theory and created new social movement theory (Diani, 1992) In his most noted work, Power in Movement (2011), Tarrow only barely mentions the role of culture an d the use of new social movement theory. American paradigms on the whole do not acknowledge new social movement theory, which is why


! 19 I discuss the paradigm last because it is the last of the major paradigms I came across and the last (and least) acknowle dged More importantly, however, it is the most suited for the Occupy Movement. New social movement theory attempts to understand the symbolic aspect of movements at the macro level (Touraine 1985). New social movements take a step back from the dynamics of movements and asks different questions that allow researchers to situate movements in structural tensions (Crossley, 2002) As Cr ossley (2002 : 167) states: This is an important step because it [ new social movement theory] relocates our understanding of movements within an understanding of society more generally and because it raises additional questions about the significance or mea ning of the movement we study and the normative claims which they raise. The significance of symbolic meaning in movements is critical to understanding new social movement theory. New social movements are symbolic reversals of what is opposed by the moveme nt. Eder (1985 : 879) states that new social movement protest action "is not to be centralized, but decentralized; not to be legal, but legitimate; not formal, but informal; not to act strategically, but expressively." New social movements engage in anti politics, eschewing political organizations and interest groups in a capitalist society (Berger, 1979) New social movements strive to preserve endangered ways of life and dealing with questions about the new life they are working to create (Habermas, 2000) and in doing so, create a theory that is post structuralist in nature, akin to Gramsci concept of hegemonic resistance (Steinmetz, 1994) The paradigm of new social movement theory treats the Occupy Movement as a resistance to a way of life, an


! 20 antithesis to a way of life the Occupiers do not agree with. As noted by Roshan Bliss in the film, "it [Occupy] was about creating a culture where it was normal to disdain capitalist relations in society. New social movement theorists are critical of oth er theories for being too focused on class, and therefore drawing class lines around movements (Bagguley, 1992 ) New social mo vements, however, are not class based, and work towards problems that affect all classes, such as quality of life, equal rights etc (Habermas, 1984) These broad issues are reflected in the form the move ment takes. In the film, Tanner Spendley states that Occupy has a "carnival culture." By that, he means that the composition of people was very diverse. He juxtaposes the cultures of the "Boulder hippy" and the "Colorado Springs, bible thumping, abortion b anning people." This shows that the population of people at Occupy is not one specific demographic, or class, but rather a mix of a range of people. Furthermore, by calling it a carnival, I believe Tanner was relating how chaotic this mix of people can be insomuch as different groups of people have different goals and issue s. People can get loud, and groups can get difficult to control, making the experience of working within these issues difficult and hard to handle like being in a carnival. This furthers the point the Occupiers make that having leadership would squash some of these issues and goals because of how much they very. Thus, Occupy is egalitarian. New social movements are egalitarian, they use a broad network, they are composed of a range of demographics and their goal is a symbolic representation of the issue s (Offe, 1985) Melucci (1985 : 801) states that: The new organizational form of co ntemporary movements is not just instrumental' for their goals. It is a goal in itself. Since the action is focused on cultural codes, the


! 21 form of the movement is a message, a symbolic challenge to dominant patterns. The analysis of culture in social move ments begins to gain acceptance in American paradigms through what is known as the cultural turn The cultural turn is growing trend in social movement theory that states social movement scholars need to account for the role of culture and its causal effect on people and what they create. T he cultural turn is the beginning of acceptance and study of new social movement theory in the United States. I gravitated towards this theory and new social movement naturally as the literature revie w found nothing in American scholarship that reflected what I was seeing in my fieldwork. As I carried out my fieldwork, I went through the history of social movement theory, as highlighted by Tarrow, and compared paradigms to what I was seeing in the fiel d. None of the paradigms in American scholarship matched Occupy is not economically or politically based, but rather culturally based or, in other words, new social movement theory helped illuminate the construction and goals of the individuals I speak ing to for this study. Furthermore, there are other theorists who are applying new social movement theory to Occupy. Langman, for example, a social theorist at Loyola, declares that Occupy is a new social movement given its goals, structure and issues (2013 : 520) : But as we have see, today, given the crises of capitalism, the NSMs [new social mov e ments] have been responses to economic retrenchments and growing inequality as much as concerns with identity, lifestyle, creativity, self realization and post materialist values based on collective good and harmony with nature. I believe Langman is narrowing in on being able to explain the Occupy Movement from a theoretical perspective through new social movement theory. I build upon this position


! 22 (and build upon it in detail ) in the analysis below. Ultimately Occupy and other new social movements make way for t he study of culture, something that has not come to the fore front in American paradigms In summation, resource mobilization is inapplicable because it is only looks at the economics of a movement. Political opportunity theory looks only at the circumstances in which movements are able to rise and contentious politics is more a set of tools to delineate a movement than a paradigm for explaining movements. The cul tural turn, while starting to be acknowledged is given very little attention still. I believe that past American paradigms are insufficient for addressing the question of what is new about the Occupy Movement and that through the cultural aspects of new s ocial movement theory and the cultural turn, scholars will be better able to study Occupy and, as this research does, to explain what makes the Occupy Movement a completely new type of movement. The video will demonstrate the importance of culture in Occupy and highlight the aspects that build this case. The video focuses on only three individuals (of the thousands in the movement) who discuss their goals and thoughts about the movement while juxtaposing what they discuss with images and video from the movement. By engaging in a discussion with these three Occupiers, the video draws a parallel between the analysis encased in this research with examples and demonstrations through film. In the film it is clear that the Occupiers have many issues they are fighting for and their method for doing so is to create a movement that reflects this.


! 23 Theory Authors Focus Approach Resource Mobilization Zald, Ash RM focuses on the use of resources by looking structurally at the organization and how it grows from content to social movement, to organization. Based on economic principles, RM looks at resources in the form of money and labor. Political Opportunity Theory Meyer, Tarrow The political opportunity that leads to social movement birth and success. Opportunity is the only thing that affects the emergence of social movements. Research looks at these opportunities. Contentious Politics Tarrow A paradigm that looks specifically at the actions taken by social movements to in terrupt the political and social opposition. Included in this approach are acts of everyday resistance, akin to Scott's work (1985). It's goal is to aid in defining collective action and tactics. New Social Movement Theory Melucci, Offe, Eder Focus is on social and cultural, with the political secondary. Marxist in nature, NSM approach social movements symbolically and treat actions and demands accordingly. Figure 3. Social Movement Theories. The main social movement theories that dominate the field of research. Diagram created by author.


! 24 CHAPTER III METHODS The research methods included participant observation, semi structured informal interviews and digital media (photos and video). The goal of this project is to understand the movement in depth to unearth what is new about it, responding to Tarrow's claim. Over the course of eight months of research I was able to maintain consistent contact with approximately ten people and loose contact with an additional nine people. Interviews and contact s were rarely able to be scheduled given the tumultuous nature of th e movement in which raids could interrupt the movement and contacts would loose their homes, making some of them relocate. Observation and participation occurred at general assemblies, rallies, raids and separate interviews (when available). The chart belo w shows the approximate amount of time I spent per activity between October of 2011 through May of 2012 (I did not include September in this estimation because the movement did not start in Denver until the last weekend of the month and it was the first ti me arrived at the site. Between these activities I estimate that approximately 436 total hours of research were carried out over the course of this fieldwork. Activity Frequency Attended Hours General Assembly 15 10 15 Rally 4 4 20 Raid 1 1 5.5 Obs./Interviews n/a 12 14 Participa nt Observation As part of my fieldwork I conducted specifically "complete participation" (DeWalt, 1998) insomuch as I was a m ember of the movement before becoming a researcher, allowing me greater access and depth to participants. When I transitioned to Figure 4 Average Time Per Month Spent Doing Fieldwork (October 2011 May 2012)


! 25 the role of researcher in December to conduct this work, I made my research known to all of my contacts to make them aware of m y new role and activities in the movement. This is a slight departure from Kawulich's (Kawulich, 2005) perception of complete participation as his definition requires that participants to be unaware of the researcher's role as researcher. However, both Dewalt and Kawulich's definitions of complete participation include being a member of the population before research and full immersion within a group, experiencing the same activities as parti cipants. As noted above, I participated in general assemblies, rallies and raids (for raids, I made sure to be on the front line between protesters and police to experience the same activity they did). I gained access to the population before becoming a r esearcher by participating in the movement at a personal level first, similar to past researchers of social movements (Charlton, 1998; Cunningham, 1999; Stephen, 1997; Waterman, 2001) I had created an ad free newspaper that was based on social issues which was dispersed at the Occupy Denver site. The newspaper gained popularity and I was offered a press pass from Colorado Indy Media. To reduce perceptions of bias in the thesis project, I removed myself from the newspaper and it printed its last issue in the following January of 2012. I also stopped publishing articles for Colorado Indy Me dia. Given the suspicion of the adherents to the movement, I recorded all field notes off site, often just a couple blocks away. The Occupiers in my study were consistently concerned with police moles, with a lot of speculation even in 2014, two years afte r occupation My history with Occupy helped pacify this concern, but it was still an issue that had to be worked around. Interviews I carried out interviews at various points in the movement when time allowed.


! 26 Rarely were these ever scheduled given how q uickly people moved in, out and through the movement. I found that interviews often focused on issues related to the movement, i.e., what the adherents wanted and what they thought Occupy should do (Schensul, 1999) I found early on, that issue related conversations allowed for greater depth in conversation, revealing more data relevant to this resea rch. Specifically, I would approach a group of people discussing a topic or issue. I would then engage in conversation to demonstrate that I understood the positions being taken by Occupy. While this does not seem novel, it was surprising how often journal ists would approach groups of Occupiers and ask sarcastic questions or demand to speak to a leader of the movement which only furthered the belief that the mainstream media did not have a handle on what the movement was doing. I also didn't ask about the ir politics, which, again, is not novel, but something I rarely saw from journalists at the movement. Instead, I was more concerned about why they were there not for their politics, but why the park, why Occupy ? The reasoning is that there were politically active ways to go about change through nonprofits, labor organization, rallying voters etc. Since the Occupy Movement is not interested in those things, I believed the question set that I needed for this resear ch existed at a more obscure level than something that would elicit a pat response such as policy change.' I believed from an early point in the movement that the questions that needed answers were not on the political level, but on the personal level. Di gital Media I utilized photos in my research not as a fundamental tool, but as a way to document various moments and individuals at Occupy. I approximately accumulated more than 1 terabyte of photos and videos taken by myself or provided from Occupiers. I


! 27 found the use of digital media most effective during rallies and raids, which moved quickly making field notes difficult. Audio and visual aspects of research allowed me greater interpretation of data and assist ed in note taking (Ginsburg, 2002) Furthermore, due to the aforementioned suspicion of police, general assemblies voted in January 2012 to outlaw photography during meetings. I also found that after the second raid, officers actively sought out photographers/videographers and noticeably s ingled them out with batons, beanbag shotguns, rubber pellets and pepper spray. I experienced this targeted police violence on the night of the fifth raid, which made me hesitant to use a camera in my fieldwork (see appendix A for further explanation). To resolve some of this, I partnered with a photographer/videographer at Occupy, Tanner Spendley, who appears in the film portion of this research. He agreed to allow me the use of his photos and videos in my research and for the film. He also suffered from p olice violence and on the night I was assaulted, he hid in an alley behind a dumpster until he could find a place to hide his camera for the evening. He documented a lot of activity at Occupy, which allowed me another vantage point of the activities that h appened. It also allows the film component of this research to see the police and other activity through the lens of someone who was extremely active and well known in the Occupy Denver Movement. Image 4 Police Aggression on Film. Still taken from Tanner Spendley Footage obtained during the evening of fifth raid.


! 28 Using digital media, semi structured interviews, and parti cipant observation allowed me to see the movement through the eyes of the Occupiers as much as possible. This research demonstrates that being on the ground' so to speak allowed for a different, and much needed viewpoint to social movement research. F or example, Doug McAdam, a noted social movement researcher at Stanford, is quoted (Springen, 2013) as saying that the movement was/is not really leaderless and that at some point, they [the Occupiers] will "get on with it" and elect leadership so they can affect change. Having not been a part of the mov ement, McAdam categorically misidentifies the m ovement's goals and incorrectly applies the model of the 1960s anti war movements to Occupy. This is due to looking at a nuanced movement from the outside, and forcing a information into a paradigm instead o f gathering information and holding it up next to a paradigm and seeing what works. Tarrow understands this and instead for forcing the Occupy Movement into a paradigm, he acknowledges the insufficiency of current American paradigms. This research, then, d elves into his claim that Occupy is a completely new type of movement.


! 29 CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS As stated above, this research seeks to understand what is new about the Occupy Movement, as noted by Si dney Tarrow, the leading social movement scholar. Tarrow claimed that Occupy is a movement of a completely new type, meaning none of the current paradigms are sufficient for understanding the Occupy Movement. What's Not New To investigate the claim that Occupy is a movement of a completely new type, we must fi rst note what is not new about Occupy. Tactically, Occupy participants ha ve not innovated on past repertoires of contention (Tilley, 1977) The tactics employed by Oc cupy are some of their most obvious characteristics. First, they occupied space, which we have seen before in the Student Divestment Movement from the 1980s on the campuses of the University of California system, Duke, and Columbia, to name a few (Martin, 2007; Soule, 1997) Protestors entangled with police officers and state enforcement, which was seen in the culmination of the anti glo balization movement of the 1990s (Ludwig, 2012) in Seattle. They are leaderless which has been documented in European movements (aided in categoriz ation by new social movement theory) and ongoing today even as evidenced by dell Porta's ( della Porta, 2009) study of the global justice movement that has grown with an egalitarian, leader less organization from it s 2001 beginnings through 2014. There is nothing new tactically about Occupy. The significance of the tactics, however, are where the symbolic nature of the movement can be seen.


! 30 The Demands The lack of demands on the part of Occu py is an interesting tactical maneuver. It could be argued that the anti globalization movement did not have a set of demands, but they had a very defined scope of contention. Occupy, on the other hand, has a scope, but a much broader one. Issues ranged fr om student loans, the banking crisis, anti war, or, as Tanner Spendley states in the film portion of this project, "shit's fucked up and bullshit," representing that he feels the entire current cultural, socio political system is broken. In light of this the Occupiers are "famously" unwilling to make specific demands (Gitlin, 2013) A ccording to David Lee Anderson, one of the individuals I interviewed in January 2014 demands and policy r eform are not the goals of the movement: Not demands. Issues that we want to discuss....You have to realize that any problem: 50 p e rcent of a problem is knowing that you have a problem. The other 50 percent is discussion and dialogue about what we're goin g to do about this problem and try to solve it. That's the other 50 percent.... We need to talk about those issues. That's part of the solution to our problem is to begin the dialogue. Occupy started the dialogue on a lot of these issues. Occupiers states that not having demands, and instead having a list of grievances (see appendix B ), is strategic, a way to not alienate anyone and maintain their structure as a symbolic approach to elites and the structures they created were the undergirding issues (Milkman et al., 2013) The data shows that Occupiers want to create something that was the opposite of the power structure evidenced by Roshan Bliss in the film portion of this project when he states: In lots of ways, the reaction against having leaders in the movement was a reaction


! 31 against having others speak for you. We wanted to see in the society much more participation and much more direct democracy. That was why we set ourselves up in the general assemblies. That was why we decided n ot to have any direct leaders, who were representatives. Thus the movement stay s representative of the people and in opposition to the elites. Furthermore, i f they developed a list of demands, elites could appease the simplest of them, and strength in the movement would diminish. This broad base approach seeks to draw attention to issues of power, elites and inequality by demonstrating something that is as opp osite as possible. Thus the Occupiers take issue with the hierarchical approach of elites and politicians because they feel they have no voice, they will create a form of power through protest that is egalitarian and open up general assemblies where everyo ne has an opportunity to speak. To ensure this is the case, the Occupiers are adamantly opposed to leadership. The Leadership The Occupiers are not trying to elect leadership to become nominees in elections, but rather to demonstrate a different approach to the way things are. There are some people who post Occupy or even a little past that, I would ask them, "Hey, why aren't you around anymore? What are you doing?" They're like, "Well, I really wanted Occupy to vote for a leader. Come up with a leader and then they could get voted into congress and then they could enact that change." My whole problem with that was: Are you also going to get a bi llion dollars to lobby that leader once they get to that position? That never happened through Occupy because people recognized, no, hierarchies are not the way to go to really get stuff


! 32 done, to do it right, and to really do i t in a way where people reall y feel in control of their own destiny. It has to be spread out, it has to be even, and you have to give people that option and that choice. [Tanner Spendley, January 2014] I believe this a symbolic reproach to a system and culture that the Occupiers feel needs to change is what is new about Occupy. So while the tactics (occupation, sit ins, marches, egalitarian structure) are nothing new to social movement theo ry, and definitely not to Tarrow the creation of a cultural opposition is. Occupy pushe s t he study of social movements further down the path of cultural studies than seen before in resource mobilization, political opportunity theory and contentious politics and towards new social movement theory With Occupy, these tactics represent what Occupi ers have claimed is (Kreiss & Tufekci, 2013 : 166) "symbolic street power and effected cultural change." Wall Street, then, is a symbolic target for power and inequality in the current system, which the Occupiers then set to recast as a moral issue as opposed to an economic one (Piven, 2012) Wall S treet became a somewhat symbolic straw man that people seemed to tie other issues into. They were the bad guys' as one Occupier claimed. Wall S treet came to represent the superstructure. The superstructure appeared to the participants of my study to be the interconnec tedness of Wall Street, politicians, large corporations, banks and other symbols of wealth and capitalism. David Lee Anderson discusses this symbolic superstructure in the video when he discusses the list of grievances created by Occupy Wall Street general a ssembly [see a reproduction in A ppendix B ]. The list has more than 20 grievances listed with every one starting with the amorphous "They." For example: it states in the list of grievances: They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the mil itary and police


! 33 force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They' becomes a symbolic group of people who contrast the beliefs of the Occupy Movement, and their origins can be readily tied to Wall Street. Even issues that are directly related to governmental offices are assumed to be influenced greatly by Wall Street.' It also allows Occupations all over the world to identify symbolic figures of inequality in the ir community, be it small local banks, large investment firms or, as in the case of Occupy Denver, the state capitol (Dean, 2011) The New Movement And New Social Movement Theory Explaining the Occupy Movement, and what is new about it a la Tarrow requires a synthesis of American and European paradigms to contextualize American social movements and bring the study of culture via new social movement theory. Lara–a (1994) produced a synthesis of paradigms and revealed that culture is significant to everyday li fe and identity, and social movement paradigms should be no different (Chaney, 1994) This position is fundamental to the cultural turn, but needs to be further augmented for the case of Occupy. Roseneil and Frosh (2012) in Social research after the cultural turn discuss the cultural turn a s young but with an expanding literature (they generally applied it to nongovernmental organizations and queer studies ) Despite this limitation in theoretical application, w hat is important is that the work done with the cultural turn revolve s around incorporating culture into American paradigms as opposed to using culture as a starting point for research. The symbolic approach the research of cult ure allows for is the opening in social movement research, which lies at the base of utilizing new social movement theory Utilizing this approach opens up social movement


! 34 research to new areas of theoretical tools and understandings. This research and dat a demonstrate that Occupy is cultural in nature as opposed to economic and/or political. To accommodate this, social movement studies must draw in the new social movement paradigm. New social movement theory treats movements as symbolic struggles with the opposition which adequately describes the Occupy Movement. As noted above, the park represents a symbolic struggle with the elite because of its position directly across the street from the capitol building. But other symbolic struggles were constantl y presenting themselves. Nearly every week in the fall, after the march would leave the camp, head through downtown and return to camp, there was a group of people (usually a majority of the main group) who proceeded to the steps of the capitol. Their goal was to climb the main set of stairs. Every time they approached the stairs, police would block it off and not allow anyone past. The Occupiers saw the stairs as a symbolic and potential victory of their multi vocal power T he stairs were never claimed by the Occupiers, so there is no way to know for sure what they would do if they succeeded. I believe, however, they sought to take the stairs because it would represent a symbolic victory over the state to overtake their' physical structure that represent ed so much power and wealth. It would be the physical manifestation of the base acting on the symbolic superstructure. In other words, the Occupy culture would be symbolically victorious if they could subvert and overtake the culture of elites. Taking th e stairs had no practical, physical goals. Occupiers standing on the stairs did nothing in the view of other social movement paradigms, but it represents a fair amount about the dialectic of the base and superstructure and the goals of Occupy if one were t o apply new social movement theory. Tarrow, then, only accounts for movements


! 35 that are economic and/or political in tone and the breadth of American paradigms cannot account for a culturally derived movement, such as Occupy. By stating Occupy is a completely new type of movement, Tarrow is ultimately stating that he is unable to categorize the movement for the purposes of research. That is because the Occupy Movement does not fit into past paradigms and applying those past th eories to Occupy results with inaccurate assessments. For example and noted above, sociologist and social movement scholar Doug McAdam, states (Springen, 2013) incorrectly that the movement is not really leaderless and that eventually the movement will have to establish leadership to reach their goals. T he problem with this is two fold. One, it assumes the Occupy Movement wants leadership and two, that a scholar is able to identify the concrete, policy goals the movement is striving for. This research demonstrates that while some of the movement adherents want leadership the bulk of adherents are opposed to leadership. This research also demonstrates that policy change is not the goal of the movement an assertion that is missed if a researcher were to apply the lens of resource mobilization or political opportunity theory, which McAdam subscribes to. These perspectives miss the point of the Occupy Movement because they do not establish a base understanding of the movement that is, culture. Chaney (1994) notes the importance of symbolism and culture in social movements by citing Foucault's Subject and Power She notes that while in some of his other wor k (specifically Discipline and Punish (1977) and The History of Sexuality (1978) ), Foucault depicts power as a monolithic being, nearly omnipotent. In Subject and Power however, Foucault treats power as more of dialectic with a flow of power and power representation. Foucault states (2004 : 780) that "In order to understand what power


! 36 relations are about, perhaps we should investigate the forms of resistance and attempts made to dissociate these relations." I believe knowingly, or unknowingly, Occup iers are trying to demonstrate this divide in po wer through their symbolic approach in tactics, methods and representation The Symbolic Motivations of the Occupy Movement By symbolically demonstrating the opposite of disliked characteristics, the Occupiers draw attention to the issues of power and its use by the elites. An understanding of the flow of power is integral to the study of culture, new social movement theory and Occupy. As Chaney (Chaney, 199 4) notes, power is not seen as a large foreboding being, but rather exists on a spectrum in which it can shift and swing. The Occupy Movement is attempting to subvert the power of the elites by demonstrating power in creating, managing and growing a movement that is leaderless, egalitarian and culturally derived. It is the Occupiers grab at power. As Armstrong and Bernstein (Armstrong & Bernstein, 2008 : 92) note regarding their discussion of culture and power, "In th is approach, movement analysts start with an examination of the nature of power and how activists understand that institutional and cultural power in specific contexts". Thus at Occupy, the adherents see the movement understood in their own context and through their own lens, issues with hierarchical, capitalist power structures. An analysis, then, of the Occupy Movement must understand how the adherents view power in the current political make up and how to counter the exertion of that power We know that power exerts influence over many things, but like power, culture greatly impacts individuals in a similar manner (Zhao, 2010) This growing acceptance for culture as a lens for research makes it important for anthropologists to play a greater


! 37 role in social movement theory. Ethnographic, cultural studies in social movements have been lightly research ed (Burdick, 1995) and often these studies focused on issue framing and protest r epertoires (Edelman, 2001) If we accept that culture mediates social life, then culture must be the site of politics and power it denotes the dynamics of the movement, the network and the activities (Nash, 2001) Accepting this means that culture plays a larger role in understanding the Occupy Movement than previously allowed by American paradigms and the inclusion of new soc ial movement theory affords a greater understanding of what Occupy is, in the canon of social movements. Studies of culture coupled with new social movement theory offers an understanding of identity that goes beyond the market, political institutions and current conceptions (Kitschelt, 1993) Creating identities asks not who we are, but what we want and who we are is not answerable (Salvo, 2013) What is answerable, is that what the people want, and with a symbolic understanding of the movement, researchers, according to Salvo (2013 : 148) "are no longer sutured to the political for the seeking of justice as the be all and end all of human pursuit." Salvo speaks to the notion that not everyt hing is political, but everything is cultural. The issue with Tarrow's take on social movement theory is that it is strictly tied up in the political in its goals and values This position is seen in his latest book on social movement theory, Power in Movement in which he states (2011 : 7) "We need a broader framework with which to connect social movements to contentious politics and to politics in general. Studies such as my research take up his call for a broader approach to social movement theory by bringing in new social movement theory and getting free of the stricture of politics only research meaning that Occupy exists outside the political but in the cultural. Past studies in


! 38 American social movement theory have narrowed their scope to the political but Occupy exists broader than that, making it appear new to Tarrow. Occupy is not directly a ttempting political change, like movements of the past (i.e. anti war movements or civil rights movement of the 1960s). It is an attempt to shift the larger culture of the United States closer to their beliefs and further from that of the elites Occupiers in my study seek a larger shift than what could occur through voting out members of the current political make up. Occupiers felt that what is needed was a wholesale shift in the way the American people see power relations and its flow through politics. A cultural shift would then shift the political so at its root, the movement seek s cultural change that would alleviate more issues than seeking policy change. The 99% Occupy brings together a symbolic identity that includes anyone who wanted to join (as opposed to those with influence who ha s a limited population of elites) (Maharawal, 2013) in that "we" are the 99 and "they" are the problem (Van Gelder, 2011) Therefore, Occupy is more of a performance, a demonstra tion of what the Occupiers want (Calhoun, 2013) Occupy shows that a new approach to the political can come through a cultural shift in perspectives. As one of my participants said I think that's one of the biggest threats to a system that is solely based off of control from a top down manner: is to have those at the very bottom deciding how they are going to run their lives, making decisions for themselves and with each other in a communal way, in a network rather than a hierarchy. That is a huge threat and Occupy definitely demonstrated that. [Tanner Spendley, January 2014] The threat Tanner Spendley is speaking of is that of system that avoids the superstructure


! 39 of capitalism that many Occupiers in this study felt were entrapping people. Instead of moving up through a ladder of social hierarchy, the Occupiers created a network that work s laterally in what Gibson (Gibson, 2013) states is anarchistic in praxis, with a small "a" as opposed to with a capital "A" (Epstein (2001) differentiates b etween small "a" anarchist principles and capital "A" card carrying anarchists). This egalitarian, lateral structure is created through a symbolic interaction with elites and the public to show that there can be a flow of power from the elites to the ind ividuals on the street. The Occupiers feel empowered for change and in power of their own existence by creating something that is the opposite of the elites. Occupiers feel the political republic set up currently in the United States does not represent the m. In lots of ways, the really visceral reaction against having leaders was a reaction that was informed by a critique against representative democracy and it's ineffectiveness for bringing about those kinds of communities and the kind of society that the people inside that democracy want to see. We were trying and experimenting with other ways of representing ourselves. [Roshan Bliss, January 2014] Both Roshan Bliss and Tanner Spendley discussed how the movement has no leaders, and that much is clear. They both, however, remarked that since there was no authority on what Occupy is/is not, anyone can perform an action and feel empowered to do so. We were trying to tell people that, Yes, it's appropriate to think of it as a leaderless movement, but it's also really important to think of it as a "leader full" movement. where everyone was their own leader, was a leader inside on the movement in some respect. Everyone had a say, and every one's will, and everyone's thoughts and opinions mattered. Anyone who was willing to take time out of their life to


! 40 come and be involved and do work with the movement, was being a leader. That was how we wanted bigger society to look. [Roshan Bliss, Januar y 2014] Taking action is a common occurrence at Oc cupy Denver. Individuals created groups to protest Blogcon (a convention for conservative bloggers held in Denver in 2011), hosting die ins at US Bank against home foreclosures and actions to be taken durin g raids. Occupy Movement culture has to be understood before understanding the political principles of occupiers but the political aspect of Occupy cannot be denied because the political is nested in the cultural. To understand what sets Occupy apart from past movements, researchers must first acknowledge the role of culture and how it informs the political desires and implications of Occupy So politically in our current system, the Occupiers feel that the representative republic in place in America does not represent their beliefs and their voices are silenced by the role of moneyed interests in politics. The Occupiers, to demonstrate anger towards this approach, have created a lateral network in which anyone can speak up. Ultimately the culture of t he hierarchical system appears to adherents of the Occupy Movement as a culture of entrapment via capitalism. I believe that culture dictates the construction of politics, and accordingly, the Occupiers strive to conceive of a culture in which the ailments of the current political system are subverted Past American social movement theories have only partially addressed the culture and symbolic nature of movements and only after social, political and economic explanations have failed. But, if those aspects have failed to provide the answers we need, as Poletta (2008 : 86) states: I f counter hegemonic discourse becomes effective only when structural conditions are destabilized, then should we not be studying the structural factors generating


! 41 disequilibrium rather than the cultural challenge that only then comes into play? Poletta's statement is a nod towards the lack of effectiveness in political opportunity theory. She notes that political opportunity theory only looks at structural conditions that lead to movements. This being the case, she suggests that rather than look at resistance and movements only once the structural de stabilization occurs, researchers should look at the culture challenge that brings about destabilization and motivations. Thus, rather than look at movements through their political desires, why not look at movements through their cultural lens that disrupts the political construction? It makes sense then, to study the culture of resistance and the symbolic challenge movements offer The Occupy M ovement is a culturally symbolic struggle against the elites and the culture that has established the divide between the elites (1 percent) and the rest of society (the 99 percent). By establishing a culture that fundamentally and symbolically challenged the form an d function of the current establishment, the Occupiers have shifted some power out of the hands of the elite and to themselves. While a few of the Occupiers I spoke to have desires that are political in nature, the overall goal is to create a cul tural move ment that demonstrates their strife. Current American paradigms, however, are unable to categorize a movement that is fundamentally cultural in nature as they were created to look at movements that were fundamentally political in nature. By incorporating t he cultural turn and new social movement theory, this research shows that the answer to the research question of what is new about Occupy is culture. The goals and value of the Occupy Movement are culturally based, and not politically based meaning that Ta rrow's arsenal of paradigms is not suited for Occupy.


! 42 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION In October of 2011, Sidney Tarrow, the preeminent social movement scholar in the United States, said that Occupy was a movement of a completely new type. With more than 50 years of American social movement theory to draw upon, this statement carries considerable weight which means that Occupy must not fit into current American paradigms, and with his wealth of research and publications for him to say it is completely new warrants length y discussions and research. By using a methodological framework comprised of participant observation informal and semi structured interviews and digital media with individuals who participated in Occupy Denver in 2011 2012 I investigate this claim to uncover what is new about the Occupy Movement. I applied a theoretical framework made up of new social movement theory the sociological cultural turn. My findings show that what Tarrow was either unable to see or unable to articulate was the progression of the cultural aspect in social movement theory. On the surface Occupy is nothing new, much less completely new, as Tarrow believes. The tactics used at Occupy have all been done before, so it is not that the movement created something unique in that regard. However, r emoving social, political and economic lenses allows for something unseen in American social movement theory a symbolic demonstration meant to highlight the issues in the current power structure demonstrated by non hierarchical structure, broad demographics and a lack of demands. Occupy is forcing scholars to acknowledge and study the role of culture (also known as the cultural turn' in social movement theory) in a greater way than has been seen before. The way resources are m oved in, through, and out of the movement is not


! 43 new. Attempting to find the political opportunity that allowed for the growth of the movement has not been done yet, making the political opportunity theory irrelevant to Occupy. Contentious politics (Tarrow 's paradigm) has helped shape an understanding culture in contention, but claimed it was a "meta narrative" (Tarro w, 2011b : 26) to the political scheme. I believe he misspoke in his past treatment of social movement theory and culture paying little or not attention to culture as a lens to view movements, making it difficult to conceptualize a movement like Occupy in a cultural context. Past American paradigms relied heavily on economic and political strictures to assess and research social movements, whereas European s ocial movement theory has focused on culture and the symbolic representation of movements. Accordingly, this research is more in line with new social movement theory. I believe that the egalitarian structure, lack of demands and representation of Occupy d emonstrat e what the Occupiers want for society on the whole. That demonstration is intended to show the viewing public (as well as movement adherents) the divide between the elites and everyone else. This divide represents not only the economic and politic al but also the cultural separation between the two groups. The culture the Occupiers have created is a performance meant to subvert and directly oppose the creation and perpetuation of elites. Occupy has no stated policy goa ls because the movement itself is the goal During an interview, Tanner Spendley noted that "for me, is what I learned the goal of Occupy was to get people to get together, to let us know that they were not alone, (January 2014, not in the video). The structure they oppose is the current, larger socio cultural and political make up of the superstructure that shows itself symbolically in the state and Wall Street. That structure is hierarchical, and to


! 44 oppose to this, the Occupiers created an egalitarian, direct democracy community This approach allowed for a myriad of issues to come to the fore as further evidenced by the list of grievances curated by the general assembly at Occupy Wall S treet. The lack of demands means that the Occupiers are not seeking direct change through poli cy, Occupiers advocate for a wholesale shift in U.S. culture one away from capitalism, Wall Street and a non representative republic. S uccess in social movements needs to be on a sliding scale as opposed to a success fail scale. Deeming a movement a suc cess or failure is to disregard information gleaned during activism by adherents and outsiders. Occupy did not create a cultural shift on a scale they wanted. S pecifically, the U.S. culture, on the whole, is the same as it was in August of 2011. Without a doubt, however, there have been small changes. For example, a Lexus Nexus search of news articles on income inequality increased from seemingly non existent before September 2011 to more than three thousand since that date. In some way, how Ameri ca sees the culture of opulence and wealth in 2014 has changed. Evidence of this can be seen with the statements by venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who stated (Weissmann, 2014) : I would call attention to the parallels of facist Nazi Germany to its war on its one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American o ne percent, namely the rich'. From the Occupy [M]ovement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. While I belie ve most people, Occupy or otherwise, would not agree with the metaphor that the rich are being hunted like the Jewish people in Germany, I believe the Occupiers


! 45 are happy with bringing attention to the issue of income distribution. The fact that Perkins fe els he is being metaphorically "hunted" is to be considered a success by the Occupiers. So while they did not pass any legislation against the one percent or venture capitalism they have no doubt raised awareness to this issue and many more. After closing my fieldwork, I was able to return to some of my participants and ask them their view of Occupy now t hat the physical occupation is no longer present Many of them have stated they felt Occupy is a success. Occupy Denver is still active on home for eclosures, online and has spawned nonprofits. In the film, this is demonstrated with the closing statement b y Tanner Spendley [2014], who states: The revolution is not only external but it's internal. You know the outside world is a reflection of the internal world and a lot of people are seeing that. You know, they came out for this external revolution and now I know people who are doing Kundalini Yoga and third eye meditations, and you know we're having talks on god that never would have existed before Occupy, because, you know, it awakened something in a lot of us. It allowed us to freely have these conversations. That's where the real power was. Occupy opens up individuals to new ways of thinking, according to Tanner's statement. Occupy provide s a social space for individuals to exchange an array of cultural and political thoughts ranging from a fix for capitalism to socialism to various faith perspectives. Occupy Denver still holds teach ins on topics such as healthcare, foreclosure and socialism. So on top of shifting the discourse on income inequality and making Mr. Perkins feel as though he is being demonized, the movement also shifted how p eople think at the individual level. The Occupiers have created a vast network of


! 46 individuals across the state and country (Roshan Bliss dubs this the "Occupy Denver diaspora"). Further anthropological study will be needed to expand on how this cultural mo vement impacted the U.S. culture, those individuals who took part in the movement, and those who watched the movement from the outside. This research can serve as a starting point for this research because it identifies that Occupy is more than a policy mi nded political venture it is a cultural movement. In conclusion, Occupy takes Tarrow and other social movement theorists further down the cultural turn than they have seen before, in to uncharted territory T hat is, to the research and understanding of culture in social movement theory, a previously undermined area of research. The cultural turn in American social movement theory is/can be aided by drawing upon the European paradigm of new social movement theory, which heavily incorporates culture. I believe this is where Occupy exists in social movement studies. By utilizing new social movement theory couched in Melucci's original presentation of the theory, and its paradigmatic structure of culture, symbolism and research, the paradigm offers a platf orm for the early understanding of the Occupy Movement. For new social movements, movements are a performance and physical representation of desires for the adherents adherents create what they want to see. In doing so, they often forsake the smaller goa l of policy change in attempt to address the larger, structural issues at place New social movement theory with this in mind, helps understand the role of egalitarianism and symbolic performance in movements. Studies have already begun to state the influe nce of new social movement theory in understandi ng the Occupy Movement. Langman (2013) for example, demonstrates that new social movements are concerned with economic inequality just as much as they are


! 47 identity, lifestyle, creativity etc. and she believe s that Occupy became the physical representation of channeling anger towards elites. The movement's depth of culture and symbolism is ultimately what is new about the movement. Whether this means it is a movement of a completely new type, as Tarrow suggest s, will hopefully be demonstrated by further research.


! 48 APPENDIX A THE TARGETING OF PHOTOGRAPHERS/VIDEOGRAPHERS AT OCCUPY DENVER Below is an example of some of the issues that were faced by those with cameras at Occupy Denver. Occupy Denver was considered one of the most suppressed occupations that included violent raids, 24 hour surveillance, and consistent interactions with police simply for being at the park. The incident below is the reason I held back on bringing my camera around, and instead, relied upon other camera people for important shots. During the night of the fifth raid, I arrived to the park around midnight. By 1am the park had been cleared and by 2 am the Occupiers moved up into the Capitol Hill area on Colfax Ave. At this point I took out my press pass and camera and began documenting the post raid activity. I saw one Occupier, for some reason, start sprinting down a side road, and a riot truck quickly pursued. I followed them, leaving the group on Colfax. By the time I caught up with the Officers and individual, he was on the ground with several officers on top of him, arresting him. When I saw this, I stopped runn ing and began walking down the sidewalk towards the individual and officers. I was aware that my press pass was visible so made sure to stay away from the action, to avoid being charged with interrupting a police investigation. I was approximately 150 yard s away from the arrest, on the sidewalk when an officer approached me from the side and asked what I was doing there. I showed him my press pass and stated, "I am just looking for the story." He squared up with me, and punched me in the stomach and said, Well, you're not getting a story tonight." I doubled over and he said that if I took another step forward I would be under arrest.


! 49 APPENDIX B LIST OF GRIEVANCES BY OCCUPY WALL STREET As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic governm ent derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corpo rations, which place profit over people, self interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known. They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosur e process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses. They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization. They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless n onhuman animals, and actively hide these practices. They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions. They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on educati on, which is itself a human right. They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers' healthcare and pay. They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or respo nsibility. They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of


! 50 contracts in regards to health insurance. They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them. They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people's lives in order to protect investments that have al ready turned a substantive profit. They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit. They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media. They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt. They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas. They continue t o create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!


! 51 APPENDIX C VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Tanner Spendley: My name is Tanner Spendley. What brought me to Occupy is a long question/ You know, I had heard through the Adbusters about Occupy Wall Str eet call out for Bring Your Tent. That was back in the summer, so I kind of knew that was, like, happening. Roshan Bliss: This is an open forum. We're using the people's mic, to let people have their voices heard. I got involved initially because I was r iding by the place where Occupy Denver initially set up its first encampments/It was actually right over there at Lincoln Park/And..that was I basically started stopping by just to see what all the fuss was about. Tanner Spendley: I mean, literally, I wa lked out of the gym one day and I heard some protesters marching down 16 th street mall and I got really excited. Roshan Bliss: In lots of ways, one of the things I felt was most important was that it was really intergenerational. [Girl]: We should all get better schools and help raise money for other schools. David Lee Anderson: I'd give anything to be young again, I'll try to keep up with them/David Lee Anderson, I was born in 1939, I am 74 years old. Pretty much an activist all my life. Tanner: God It's so interesting because normally when you get people together for a movement, they already have some type of preconceived notions, and you kind of already know, "Hey. We are going to agree on certain things." [Peace March Film Excerpt]: Anti war dem onstrators protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. In mass marches, rallies and demonstrations. Central park is the starting point for the parade to the U.N. Building. Tanner Spendley: With Occupy I mean you have someone there, and you might not agree with them on a single fucking issue and you still have to work together with them. So the culture was very interesting. Because you would have people driving down from the most conservative, Colorado Springs, bible thumping, you know, abortion bannin g people, then you were also having the free wheeling hippie from Boulder coming together and sharing a meal together. And so the culture, was, almost a carnival culture. Roshan Bliss: So I think that, like that's one of the major insights that I think a lot of people just don't understand, the Occupy Movements was about much more than like what was happening on the ground. It was about/creating a culture where it was normal to, like, disdain capitalist relations in society.


! 52 David Lee Anderson: There wer e so many different issues. And I think the goal was to make more people aware of the issues. Whether it was healthcare/this spying/the war/the minimum wage/ [Tanner cut]: I am going into the streets to let other people know, Hey, shit's fucked up and bu llshit/there were so many issues brought up. Because the Occupy Movement was a very democratic kind of a process. Roshan Bliss: It was the sorted of pitted, the representative democracy was sort of pitted against this direct democracy. So in lots of way s the reaction against having leaders in the movement was a reaction against having other people speak for you because we wanted to see in the society much more participation and much more direct democracy. And that was why we set ourselves up into these general assemblies. David Lee Anderson: What we have right now is we have a one percent of the population writing the rules for the other ninety nine percent. And that's not equal. That's not a democracy. Roshan Bliss: Full stop. The Occupy Movement wo uld not have existed without anarchists. Anarchism means to be without hierarchies and hierarchies are where authority comes from. Where I say something so you have to do it because of our relationship. Tanner Spendley: And that's one of the biggest thin gs I got out of Occupy/Is that when you have those on the very bottom deciding for themselves how they are going to run their lives, making decisions for themselves, and with each in a communal way, in a network rather than a hierarchy that is a huge thr eat. And Occupy definitely demonstrated that. David Lee Anderson: To make these issues aware and make a list like what Occupy in New York did. Keith Olberman Cut: Here is, formally and finally what Occupy Wall Street says and wants. It is in essence, th eir special comment. David Lee Anderson: Not demands. Issues we wanted to discuss. Keith Olberman Cut: They have sold our privacy as a commodity. They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately decli ned to recall faulty products. David Lee Anderson: You have to first recognize that any problem, fifty percent of any problem is know that you have the problem. The other fifty percent is this discussion and dialogue about what we're going to do about th is problem to solve it. Roshan Bliss: Because in lots of ways, Occupy was just a set of ideas. It was a lens that we use to look at the world.


! 53 Tanner Spendley: And that is the real power. The revolution is not only external but it's internal. You know the outside world is a reflection of the internal world and a lot of people are seeing that. You know, they came out for this external revolution and now I know people who are doing Kundalini Yoga and third eye meditations, and you know we're having talks on god that never would have existed before Occupy, because, you know, it awakened something in a lot of us. It allowed us to freely have these conversations. That's where the real power was.


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