Format

Book Reviews

Cover of Anne Bishop's book Becoming An Ally: Ending the Cycle of Oppression in People

Becoming allies: Reaching across the divide

Allies work is key to building strong and diverse groups and social movements. An ally is someone outside an oppressed group or identity, who commits to standing alongside those people.

Cover of Clare Land's Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous Struggles

Decolonizing Solidarity Bookclub

Decolonizing Solidarity is a book by Clare Land which offers directions (and knotty dilemmas) to people seeking to support Indigenous Struggles. This article includes suggested guidelines for book clubs discussing Decolonizing Solidarity which are also beneficial for other groups doing anti-oppression and ally work.

red balloon tied to metal weight

Moving the rock: Shifting power for sustained change

This article explores the ‘moving the rock’ concept put forward by Daniel Hunter in his book Strategy and Soul. The concept has been valuable for campaigners and organisations reassessing their theory of change and particularly how they engage politicians and supporters.

Diagram shows 5 arrows pointing to the target of Purpose: Symbols, Slogans, Stories, Specifics, Personalise.

Being Purpose Driven

Nothing precedes purpose. The starting point for every organisation or movement should be the question ‘Why do we exist’? A number of tips for focusing an organisation on vision and purpose. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning, based on Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church.

Diagram of 5 concentric circles labelled from outside to inside: Community; Crowd; Congregation; Committed; Core.

Levels of Commitment from Community to Core

Rick Warren focuses on five ‘circles of commitment’ – community, crowd, congregation, committed and core, and argue that it’s important to recognise where your supporters fall in these categories, and develop processes to move them from the outside in. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning.

Cover of the book Ground Wars.

Ground Wars Electoral field campaigning

Joel Dignam reviews Ground Wars, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen’s hands-on ethnographic study of two competitive congressional campaigns in the 2008 US election. The book is a richly-detailed portrait of contemporary field campaigning.

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.

Pin It on Pinterest