Type of Document Dissertation Author Luke, George Wheeler Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-07192004-142318 Title State-Sponsored Advocacy? The Case of Florida's Students Working Against Tobacco Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Sociology, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Patricia Yancey Martin Committee Chair Irene Padavic Committee Member Jill Quadagno Committee Member Marie Cowart Committee Member Keywords
- Social Movements
- Public Health
Date of Defense 2004-07-12 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation explores the relationship between the state and a social movement organization thus raising questions about relations between the two. Specifically, are state sponsored anti-tobacco youth organizations viable social movement organizations? How do they contribute to the anti-tobacco social movement in terms of the mobilization of individuals for social action on tobacco issues? The author applies theories of micromobilization, originally developed to understand how social movement organizations work, to assess the ways one state-run youth group, Florida’s Student’s Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), mobilized youth and also determine what they were mobilized to do. Political opportunity theory is used to frame the analysis and interpret the results, in line with Burawoy’s extended case method. Data for the project, covering events prior to SWAT’s launch in March 1998 through its effective end in June 2003, include newspaper articles, official documents and reports, participant observation by the author, and transcripts from group interviews with 86 youth aged 12 to 18 about their experiences in SWAT. Inductive analysis, using the qualitative program ATLAS/ti, was done to identify key themes in the youth interviews, including issues related to mobilization, collective identity, emotions, and framing.
The findings are as follows. (1) The SWAT program proved to be dependent on the state leadership, especially the governor, having been founded under one governor who lent his name and time to the fight against big tobacco and undermined (as in de-funded) by the succeeding governor. State officials used a variety of tactics to suppress, redirect, and manage youth after regime change occurred. (2) Youth comments in the group interviews (conducted two years following regime change) revealed an organization substantially re-purposed away from social action on tobacco and partly reoriented away from tobacco issues altogether. While the ‘Board of Director’ groups, comprised of youth from around the state who played a leadership role, maintained rhetoric of social action consistent with the organization’s original construction, the practice of social action was limited. It was found in only one of the eight sites included in the study, and accounted for there by locally driven issues. (3) Analysis of structural relations in SWAT, presented in terms of the youth’s state of empowerment within the organization, generally contradicted SWAT’s official claims to be “youth run” and further problematize the notion of a viable state-supported movement organization.
The conclusions return to the questions posed at the start of the project and review how the findings can be used to improve social movements theories, particularly theories of political opportunity and micro-mobilization but also the role of emotions in social movement mobilization. Most importantly, they show the dilemmas, indeed major hurdles, that a state-sponsored movement organization faces including its vulnerability to changes in formal/administrative state support. Policy implications are addressed that identify the kinds of conditions that would be necessary for a state-sponsored social movement organization to succeed. Lastly, the impact of SWAT involvement on the lives of its youth participants is addressed. While most were likely minimally affected, at least some of the students came to understand the goals and tactics of a social movement and developed and maintained an emotional and intellectual commitment to the fight against big tobacco. While the Florida experiment arguably failed in the aggregate, this conclusion does not hold for at least some individuals. A call for further research is issued, including theorization of the dynamics of state-movement relationships, the defining elements of social movement organizations, and the dynamics and emotions of mobilization, with a special plea to focus on the evolving interface between public health policy and the anti-tobacco movement agenda.
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