Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Becoming Black Lives Matter: Racial Change and the Emergence of Black Movements

Weddington, George (2022) Becoming Black Lives Matter: Racial Change and the Emergence of Black Movements. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 12 October 2024.

Download (947kB) | Request a Copy


My dissertation explores the role of racial ideologies and ideologically structured action in the formation of social movements and social movement organizations (SMOs). Through ethnographic examination of the grassroots efforts of a prison reform organization, I explain how activists in SMOs generate changes in their organization’s structure, protest tactics, and network affiliations in attempts to create Black organizations. Building upon Stuart Hall’s theory of articulation (Grossberg 1986) alongside Tianna Paschel’s reading of his work to study Black movements in Brazil and Colombia, I study the racial changes of the movement organization that I call Action for Police Reform (APR) to become a part of the Black Lives Movement in 2014. The theory of articulation explains that organizations and movements undergo racial change not only through membership or demographic changes, but activists acting upon racial ideology as a cognitive framework that activists use to evaluate and remake their movement claims, affiliations, and tactics.
By examining the changes that Black activists made in APR as they joined the Black Lives Movement, I present three key findings. The first finding is that movement organizations are racialized in various, and often inconsistent ways, as activists make and remake social racial boundaries within movement organization structures. The second finding is that activists’ success in changing the racial aspects of movement organizations depends, in part, on pre-existing organizational structures and organizing principles. The last finding is that the social bases of support for Black movements depends, in part, on the ability for activists to repurpose organizational structures and resources.
I contribute to broader research on social movements and collective behavior while also providing empirical analysis of the Black Lives Movement. My findings point toward a need to further study the ontological basis of social movement support by displaying how activists carve out pockets of support in organizations that may, on surface level, appear to be neutral or uninvolved. In terms of the Black Lives Movement, this dissertation presents an example of the spread of the protest wave and the history of how a preexisting organization facilitated sustained local protest over the course of two years.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Weddington, Georgegtw10@pitt.edugtw10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStaggenborg, Suzannesuzstagg@pitt.edusuzstagg
Committee MemberBloom, Joshuajoshuabloom@pitt.edujoshuabloom
Committee MemberMurphy,
Committee MemberOliver,
Date: 12 October 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 July 2022
Approval Date: 12 October 2022
Submission Date: 2 August 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 167
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black Studies, Social Movements, Race
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 20:30
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2022 20:30


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item