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Factionalism hampers social movements by pitting elite and marginalized activists against each other rather than uniting them for change


Given their tendency to splinter over tactics and goals, social movements are rarely unified. Following the modern Western animal rights movement over thirty years, Corey Lee Wrennapplies the sociological theory of Bourdieu, Goffman, Weber, and contemporary social movement researchers to examine structural conditions in the animal rights movement, facilitating factionalism in today’s era of professionalized advocacy.

Modern social movements are dominated by bureaucratically oriented nonprofits, a special arrangement that creates tension between activists and movement elites who compete for success in a corporate political arena. Piecemeal Protest examines the impact of nonprofitization on factionalism and a movement’s ability to mobilize, resonate, and succeed. Wrenn’sexhaustive analysis of archival movement literature and exclusive interviews with movement leaders illustrate how entities with greater symbolic capital are positioned to monopolize claims-making, disempower competitors, and replicate hegemonic power, eroding democratic access to dialogue and decision-making essential for movement health.

Piecemeal Protest examines social movement behavior shaped by capitalist ideologies and state interests. As power concentrates to the disadvantage of marginalized factions in the modern social movement arena, Piecemeal Protest shines light on processes of factionalism and considers how, in the age of nonprofits, intra-movement inequality could stifle social progress.

Corey Lee Wrenn is Lecturer of Sociology at the University of Kent.

“Corey Wrenn’s book highlights the ubiquity of ‘symbol mining’ from radical factions by professional ones; the consolidation of movement power by the ‘nonprofit industrial complex’; and the vulnerability of the NPIC to co-option by the state and capital. Piecemeal Protest provides an invaluable critical sociological analysis, both in terms social movement scholarship and for the lessons it contains for the NHA movement.”
—Matthew Cole, The Open University

Piecemeal Protest will make an important contribution to the literature and will be of significant interest to countless scholars and activists across disciplines and social justice movements. It will capture the interest of general readers and will further their ability for critical thought and praxis. This book will be valuable in a range of university courses, from social movement classes, to the growing number of animals and society courses emerging throughout the world, to women’s studies courses.”
—David A. Nibert, Wittenberg University