My dissertation explains how activist groups’ foci of attention and interaction patterns generate different stylistic orientations toward action. This study addresses my broader theoretical interest in the power of cultural practice to affect group identity and collective behavior. My dissertation is based on 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Mindanao, Philippines, in the immediate aftermath of signing the historic peace accord that put an end to four decades of armed conflict. Civil society organizations and networks of Christian, Moro, and Indigenous peace activists played a critical role in the peace accord negotiations and social reconciliation efforts. By paying special attention to important extra-deliberative processes—the perceptual, interactional and emotional dynamics—of the peace activists, I theorize that activist groups’ spheres of influence and patterns of interaction shape their organizational foci, including activists’ theories of how to achieve social change and the types of project they choose to pursue. I analyze two distinct foci of attention found among Mindanao peace activists: these different foci in turn, inform and sustain two different styles of collective action: that of position-taking advocates and community bridge-builders. Organizational focus constrains group action over time, and differences in foci among activist groups often lead to tensions when they try to cooperate within the same network.
|Author||Hyunjin Deborah Kwak|
|Contributor||Ann Mische, Research Director|
|Degree Level||Doctoral Dissertation|
|Degree Discipline||Peace Studies|
|Degree Name||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Departments and Units|