Territoriality and Mobilization: The Civil Rights Campaign in Northern Ireland
Title: Territoriality and Mobilization: The Civil Rights Campaign in Northern Ireland
Citation: Mobilization, 2010, 15, 4, 405-424
This article assesses how the concept of territoriality can expand our understanding of the relationship between space and political mobilization. While the spatial aspects of social movement mobilization have received increased attention over the last decade, the specifically territorial aspects of mobilization remain undertheorized. This article elaborates on Sack’s (1986) characterization of territoriality as a means to exert power by delimiting area. We analyze territoriality's role in the civil rights campaign in Northern Ireland through the late 1960s. The empirical analysis indicates that significant campaign power was rooted in the territorial boundaries and contexts that were deployed in the course of mobilization. Our intent in introducing the concept of territoriality is threefold: first, to help explain how mobilization is interwoven, through agency, with local context; second, to emphasize the utility of spatial concepts in the social movement literature; and third, to broaden the comparative range of case studies in the field of collective action by considering societies where boundaries are actively contested (weakly 'naturalized'). We conclude with a discussion of how the concept of territoriality enhances a new reading of our empirical case and an analysis of the study’s theoretical implications for our understanding of the relationship between mobilization and boundaries.
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