Format

Book Reviews

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Joel Dignam reviews Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” which explores some of the key structural problems facing groups. Recognising that power dynamics are present in all groups Freeman proposes formal structures, transparency and accountability.

Photograph of two people standing on pavement, taken from above. Written on the ground is 'Passion Led Us Here'.

Retain volunteers with intrinsically motivating work

Civic associations depend upon volunteers to get their work done. Joel Dignam distils insights from Ruth Wageman and Richard Hackman’s “Designing work for individuals and for groups” from Perspectives on Behavior in Organizations.

Aerial photograph of huge crowd filling Federation Square and surrounding streets.

Hahrie Han on How Relationships Improve Mobilisation

Insights from The Organizational Roots of Political Activism: Field Experiments on Creating a Relational Context. In her paper, Han demonstrates that a relational context affects civic engagement, arguing that decisions like voting or other forms of activism aren’t based upon a simple cost-benefit analysis.

Cover of the book 'How Organizations Develop Activists'.

How Organizations Develop Activists: A book review

Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s How Organizations Develop Activists. A key finding of Han’s research is that high-engagement chapters practise both organizing and mobilizing. The Voice for Indi campaign is considered as an Australian example of combining these two approaches.

Cover of 'In the Tigers Mouth'.

Book Review of In the Tiger’s Mouth Empowerment Guide

A review of Katrina Shield’s ‘In The Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action’. What most distinguishes this books is its emphasis on three elements not often considered in other campaigning texts: self-awareness, collaboration, and self-care.

Cover of the booklet 'Moved to Action', includes a photograph of two smiling people wearing union tshirts.

Lessons from Hahrie Han’s ‘Moved to Action’

Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s Moved to Action. Han tackles the question of what motivates political participation by people who face significant barriers. Han provides a toolkit for those seeking to empower and work with, or within, marginalised communities.

Cover of the book 'The Starfish and the Spider. Features a drawing of a starfish.

Decentralisation: The Starfish and the Spider

Joel Dignam reviews Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom’s ‘The Starfish and the Spider’. The book delves into ideas and language around decentralisation with useful examples from history, social movements and commerce. It also includes practical tips for putting decentralisation into practice.

book cover of hope in the dark

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit: Book Review

Hope in the Dark ­was written by Rebecca Solnit to help activists and campaigners find hope in times of struggle. Here Matt Ross reviews the American author’s arguments for keeping the faith in times of despair.

A diagram of the eight stages of social movements

Bill Moyer’s Movement Action Plan

A summary of Bill Moyer’s Movement Action Plan. He describes eight stages through which social movements normally progress over a period of years and decades. It provides organizers with a map of the long road of successful movements.

Cover of Daniel Hunter's book 'Strategy & Soul'. Features a photograph of Daniel Hunter and fellow campaigner Jethro Heiko with the Philadelphia Town Hall in the background.

Strategy & Soul Insights

Anita Tang reflects on meeting Daniel Hunter and reading his book Strategy and Soul. She shares insights from his work which can contribute to strategic and soulful campaigning.

Pin It on Pinterest