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BIPR | BOOK PRESENTATION: Prisms of the People, Power & Organizing in 21st Century America
BOOK PRESENTATION: Prisms of the People, Power & Organizing in 21st Century America

May 3, 2021 - 18:30

Hahrie Han - Michael Vaughan - Nina Hall

Event Recap


Full Audio:

BOOK PRESENTATION: Prisms of the People, Power & Organizing in 21st Century America


Jointly organized by the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe, the Johns Hopkins University Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute, and the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society
hosted by Professor Nina Hall

Hahrie Han
Author: Inaugural Director, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute and Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, US
Michael Vaughan
Discussant: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Research Group 15: Digitalisation and the Transnational Public Sphere, Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Germany
Nina Hall
Chair: Assistant Professor of International Relations, Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe, Italy

In this moment of enormous uncertainty regarding the state of democracy around the globe, people all over the world are pouring into the streets to pressure governments to be more responsive to their needs. Yet the overwhelming response to these public outcries is stasis. People are asking themselves how change becomes possible. Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America helps develop the science of social change by looking systematically at outlying cases of 21st century social change in the US, to identify the characteristics that successful movements and organizations share. All of the cases in the book have online components — a facet made more pressing during the pandemic — but none can be regarded as "digital first" groups.

The webinar will discuss the book's findings which show that the most effective movements were the ones that rejected the false choice between idealism and pragmatism, between working inside the system and outside the system, between articulating a bold vision and making political compromises. Instead, by investing in building constituencies that were flexible and committed, these movements were able to win voting rights for the formerly incarcerated, pass legislation for universal preschool, push back against anti-immigrant legislation, and elect candidates willing to articulate a new vision of multi-racial politics.

For further information on the book: Prisms of the People
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