Mobilization among the homeless: A comparative study of organization, action, and outcomes in eight United States cities.
AuthorCress, Daniel Miles.
Committee ChairSnow, David A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation examines mobilization and collective action by the homeless in eight U.S. cities. Much of the focus of social movement research emphasizes either broad macro-level social processes or micro-level individual characteristics to understand movement dynamics. This research focuses on the organizational context and dynamics of homeless mobilization. I argue that the organizational level not only mediates dynamics at the macro and micro level, but that organizational processes themselves shape the possibility and course of mobilization and collective action. I identify the environmental factors that constrain the possibilities of organizational action by the homeless and the organizational characteristics of homeless social movement organizations (SMOs) that are associated with the ability to successfully negotiate these environments. The core of the dissertation is organized around four related issues: the organizational environment, resources, form, and action and outcomes. I map the organizational field of homeless mobilization and illustrate how the presence or absence of various organizational orientations within the field influences the potential for resource acquisition, the type of form adopted, and the types of collective action tactics and outcomes available to the homeless. Next, I examine the resource relationships of homeless SMOs, the types of resources they mobilize, and the influence of particular types of resources on SMO viability. Following this, I explore the role of organizational form on homeless mobilization and collective action and the various pathways by which the homeless SMOs came to adopt or not adopt nonprofit form. Finally, I examine the determinants of collective action tactics utilized by homeless SMOs and their efficacy in procuring various outcomes. By emphasizing the organizational level, this dissertation operates at the intersection of the organizational and social movements literatures. Thus, the research offers theoretical insights for both while addressing a neglected level of analysis in the study of social movements.