Showing posts from February, 2011

Food Riots in July 1795

Gentleman's Magazine

What would Tom Paine do?

Perhaps with each new government policy measure, we need to ask 'what would Tom Paine do?'

Thomas Paine, 'Ways and Means of Improving the Condition of Europe', The Rights of Man, part II (1792), Chapter 5, part 6 of 8:

First, Abolition of two millions poor-rates.
Secondly, Provision for two hundred and fifty thousand poor families.
Thirdly, Education for one million and thirty thousand children.
Fourthly, Comfortable provision for one hundred and forty thousand aged persons.
Fifthly, Donation of twenty shillings each for fifty thousand births.
Sixthly, Donation of twenty shillings each for twenty thousand marriages.
Seventhly, Allowance of twenty thousand pounds for the funeral expenses of persons travelling for work, and dying at a distance from their friends.
Eighthly, Employment, at all times, for the casual poor in the cities of London and Westminster.

[note - £1 in 1792 was worth the equivalent in 2008 of £101 using the retail price index; or £1140 using averag…

social movements, revolutions, narratives and positive feedback

Why does the emergence of a protest movement or revolutionary situation in one area seemingly lead to a domino effect in other countries or societies?

1. structuralist interpretations:
Traditional 'structuralist' social movement theories point to the central role of external circumstances and the break-down of structures [e.g. the state, the economy]. The 'political opportunities' thesis presumes that protesters are motivated to act because they interpret rationally the influence of these external structural factors. Their ability to resist is determined by these external forces too: e.g. the strength of the military or the weakness of the economy. [Goodwin and Jasper, 10]

2.  ruptures of structures as culture:
Other social movement theorists do not deny that structural dislocation is important in creating the conditions for protests to occur and for the potential of overturning or remodelling those structures. 'Ruptures spiral into transformative historical event…