Month: November 2012

You (still) can’t evict an idea.

Wow, the one-year anniversary of the eviction of Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti Park) came and went this week. I’m bad at keeping track of what the date is on any given day — or week! And for the past several weeks I’ve had my head buried in GRE prep and school applications. So I just now realized. It occurred to me while rereading William Gamson’s article The Social Psychology of Collective Action (in Frontiers of Social Movement Theory). This made me think of a major accomplishment of OWS: When truly hegemonic, the legitimating frame is taken for granted. Would-be challengers face the problem of overcoming a definition of the situation that they themselves may take as part of the natural order. It is an achievement, then, for a challenger to force the sponsors of a legitimating frame to defend its underlying assumptions. The sheer existence of a symbolic contest is evidence of the breakdown of hegemony and a major accomplishment for a challenger. OWS—which, to me, includes “spinoff” campaigns like Rolling Jubilee, Occupy Homes, and …