Jane Mansbridge, University Of Chicago Press, 2001
How can human beings be induced to sacrifice their lives – even one minute of their lives – for the sake of their group? This question, central to understanding the dynamics of social movements, is at the heart of this collection of original essays. The book is the first to conceptualize and illustrate the complex patterns of negotiation, struggle, borrowing, and crafting that characterize what the editors term "oppositional consciousness" – an empowering mental state that prepares members of an oppressed group to undermine, reform, or overthrow a dominant system. Each essay employs a recent historical case to demonstrate how oppositional consciousness actually worked in the experience of a subordinate group. Based on participant observation and interviews, chapters focus on the successful social movements of groups such as African Americans, people with disabilities, sexually harassed women, Chicano workers, and AIDS activists. Ultimately, Oppositional Consciousness sheds new light on the intricate mechanisms that drive the important social movements of our time.