Activists are time and resource poor. They create social change by making quick decisions in stressful conditions, and often suffer disproportionately for their efforts.
Given the urgency of our social and environmental challenges, linking activists with the latest research on topics ranging from how to engage in effective communication, to tactical decision making, to activist self-care, is more important than ever. Yet this research is mostly hidden behind paywalls or it is time consuming to acquire and apply. Thankfully, digital technologies offer a new opportunity to bridge the activist-researcher. Throughout my time here in the Social Change Lab, I’ve experimented with piloting effective research dissemination. This has lead me to the development of my website, www.earthactivists.com.au. This website began as a communication vehicle for various projects created during my time as a fellow in the University of Queensland Digital Research Fellowship program.
The website is based on an initial dataset of 497 Australian environmental groups and 901 environmental campaigns. Mapped through the Esri ArcGIS online platform, the data and associated map will allow activists to easily view campaigns across all environmental issues, compare the data available on them, and track the campaign outcomes over time. Combined with archives collected on past environmental campaigns, one goal of the project is to create an open and accessible ‘treasure chest’ of information on Australia’s rich and diverse environmental movement.
Open data can inform what type of activism is more likely to succeed; for example, data collected on over 100 years of protests demonstrates the surprising success rate of non-violent civil resistance as opposed to violence insurgencies. But it can also help enable stronger and more connected activists, reducing the ‘activist fatigue’ experienced through isolation and burnout. To this end, the website hosts stories of women fighting climate change. It also provides insights from experienced environmental campaigners on the highs and lows of activism, how they define success, and how they prioritise and acquire resources for their work.
This website, still in its nascent stage, has been informed by international examples of accessible and open data on social change movements. One of the most influential of these examples is the Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes Data Project (NAVCO). This publically available dataset, initiated by Erica Chenoweth, has generated findings of international significance about the importance of non-violence civil resistance, and initiated a new research direction in civil resistance.
Another successful open data initiative is that of the Environmental Justice Atlas (ejatlas.com). Centred on a global map of large scale environmental civil resistance campaigns, the project aims to both serve as a tool for informing activism and advocacy, and to foster increased academic research on the topic. Containing information on 2,100 environmental justice case studies, this project has international collaborators both contributing to new case studies and utilising existing studies for their activism and research.
These examples demonstrate the new ways digital technology can be used as a bridge between activists and researchers. We have such a rich history of activists and activism around the globe. Collecting and sharing detailed empirical data about social and environmental collective action can help celebrate the work of those who fought for social and environmental justice in the past. But equally importantly, it can help inform how we can generate the urgent action we need to secure our future. In this time of crisis, bringing activists and researchers together is one more important than ever.
- Robyn Gulliver
Who run the world? Girls! (At least according to Beyoncé). The reality, however, is that men still run most of the world, and the fight for gender equality could move a lot faster if they joined in as allies. So how do we get men to become allies?
From what we know from the research on allies), advantaged group members are more likely to fight for the disadvantaged group when they identify more strongly with the disadvantaged group. It is also important that they view fighting discrimination as morally important, are angry about the inequality that persists, and feel a sense of efficacy in their ability to bring about change. But something else might be at work too in the case of gender discrimination.
As we’ve seen in the reactions, such as the hashtag NotAllMen and the backlash to this Gilette ad, men can feel threatened by the push for equality. These reactions tends to be more strong when men are more strongly attached to their group membership as men. In other words, stronger identification with men might make them less likely to act towards achieving equality.
Putting this all together, we investigated how we can can mobilise men to reduce discrimination against women. Men’s allyship in gender inequality has mostly been investigated in Western countries, and so we looked at whether these factors would work in Japan and the Philippines, where the degrees of gender inequality differ.
What did we find out? In both countries, men are more willing to advocate for women when they (1) think gender inequality is an important moral issue and (2) feel like their actions can drive change. We found some interesting differences between Japan and the Philippines: For Filipino men, feeling more connected with women and their struggles was mobilizing (but not for Japanese men). For Japanese men, a stronger connection with men was demobilizing (but not for Filipino men). We suspect this may be a function of the broader context of gender (in)equality. In contexts like the Philippines where women are more visible in the public realm and in leadership roles, the push for equality may be less threatening to men. In contexts like Japan, where inequality is more visible and policies are being enacted to address this, men may feel more threatened, especially when they identify more strongly with their gender.
, So what does this mean for getting men on board the gender equality train? Here are four tips:
Guest post by Danielle Ochoa (The University of Philippines), Eric Manalastas (The University of Sheffield), and Makiko Deguchi (Sophia University, Tokio).
Read the full article: Ochoa, D., Manalastas, E., Deguchi, M., & Louis, W. (2019). Mobilising Men: Ally Identities and Collective Action in Japan and the Philippines. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 13, (14).
All researchers in the Social Change Lab contribute to the "Do Good" blog. Click the author's name at the bottom of any post to learn more about their research or get in touch.