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Consensus Decision Making, Northern Ireland and Indigenous Movements

Posted Dec. 11, 2002

Synopsis
Decision making is the oil that greases the wheel of social movement organizing. Done poorly, it derails organizations and coalitions; done well, it advances the movement and may model those changes movements seek to effect in society. Despite its importance, movement decision making has been little studied. Section One makes a singular contribution to the study of social movement decision making through seven focused case studies, followed by a critical commentary. The case studies on decision making cut across a wide breadth of social movement contexts, including Peace Brigades International teams, a feminist bakery collective, Earth First, the NGO Forum on Women, Friends of the Earth, the Tlapanec indigenous movement in Mexico, an on-line strategic voting campaign, and Korean labor movements. The section concludes with Jane Mansbridge's synthesis and critical commentary on the papers, wherein she continues to make her own substantive contributions to the literature on consensus decision making. The three papers in Section Two focus on Northern Ireland, where frustration with inter-community conflict resolution spawned a movement promoting intra-community or 'single tradition' programs. Two chapters provide invaluable comparative studies of the benefits and shortcomings of these counter-movements, while the third paper applies constructive conflict and nonviolent action theories to recent developments in the annual parades disputes. The volume closes with two papers on Native American issues. The first examines an initiative to teach conflict history and build conflict analysis and resolution skills among the Seneca Nation. The final case study of two Native American women's organizations demonstrates how socially constructed identities are critical to movement framing processes and collective actions. With this volume, RSMCC continues its long-standing tradition of publishing cutting edge studies in social movements, conflict resolution, and social change.


Contents
Conflicts and consensus decision making in social movements: claims-making and consensus in collective group processes, L. Woehrle; critiquing consensus - an analysis of processes designed for non-governmental collaboration, A. Snyder; communal interest and political decision-making in an emerging Mexican indigenous movement, M. Hebert; negotiating identity and danger under the gun - consensus decision making on peace brigades international teams, P.G. Coy; communicative rationality and decision making in environmental organizations, A. Whitworth; the new site of activism - on-line organizations, movement entrepreneurs, and the changing location of social movement decision-making, J. Earl, A. Schussman; social movement organization and network formation, Doowon Suh; consensus in context - a guide for social movements, J. Mansbridge. The "Troubles" and conflict resolution in Northern Ireland: resolving community relations problems in Northern Ireland - an intra-community approach, J. Hughes; the silent construction of class, religion and conflict through organizational procedures and civic practices - a case study of the Northern Ireland Women's Festival Day Project, S.L. Scott; parading persuasion - nonviolent collective action as discourse in Northern Ireland, L. Smithey, L.R. Kurtz. Identity and conflict resolution in Native American communities: Remember Kinzua! - the development of a history and conflict resolution curriculum for the Syracuse school district, B. Wulff, B. Blancke; nurturers and keepers of culture - the influence of Native American women on the development of collective action frames, T.B. Gongaware.