Northwestern Events Calendar


American Politics Workshop

When: Friday, February 16, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Scott Hall, 201, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: John Mocek   (847) 491-5364

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Hahrie Han
Anton Vonk Professor of Environmental Politics, Department of Political Science, 
University of California, Santa Barbara

"Civic Feedbacks: The Organizational Foundations of People Power"

ABSTRACT: Democracy is premised on the idea that ordinary people have voice, but what are the conditions under which the interest groups, civic associations, and social movements that channel people’s voice are able to harness grassroots activity for political influence? Existing theory has limited ability to explain the differential success of grassroots groups. This paper introduces the concept of civic feedbacks, which argues that the way associations engage individuals has long-term feedbacks that shape the relative power position of organizations in three ways: it affects the range of strategic possibilities available to organizations, the network of elite relationships they to which they have access, and their ongoing ability to generate commitment among other activists. Analyzing how these feedbacks redound to the organization over time enhances our ability to explain differential rates of political influence. By introducing the concept of civic feedbacks, this paper puts organizations and organizational strategy back at the center of our study of political influence and power.

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