Laughing Saints and Righteous Heroes: Emotional Rhythms in Social Movement Groups

University of Chicago Press
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Why do people keep fighting for social causes in the face of consistent failure? Why do they risk their physical, emotional, and financial safety on behalf of strangers? How do these groups survive high turnover and emotional burnout?

To explore these questions, Erika Summers Effler undertook three years of ethnographic fieldwork with two groups: anti–death penalty activists STOP and the Catholic Workers, who strive to alleviate poverty. In both communities, members must contend with problems that range from the broad to the intimately personal. Adverse political conditions, internal conflict, and fluctuations in financial resources create a backdrop of daily frustration—but watching an addict relapse or an inmate’s execution are much more devastating setbacks. Summers Effler finds that overcoming these obstacles, recovering from failure, and maintaining the integrity of the group require a constant process of emotional fine-tuning, and she demonstrates how activists do this through thoughtful analysis and a lucid rendering of their deeply affecting stories.
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About the author

Erika Summers Effler is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 15, 2010
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780226188676
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Industrial & Organizational Psychology
Social Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Every year, thousands of visitors come from around the world to visit Menlo Innovations, a small software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They make the trek not to learn about technology but to witness a radically different approach to company culture.


CEO and “Chief Storyteller” Rich Sheridan removed the fear and ambiguity that typically make a workplace miserable. His own experience in the software industry taught him that, for many, work was marked by long hours and mismanaged projects with low-quality results. There had to be a better way.


With joy as the explicit goal, Sheridan and his team changed everything about how the company was run. They established a shared belief system that supports working in pairs and embraces making mistakes, all while fostering dignity for the team.


The results blew away all expectations. Menlo has won numerous growth awards and was named an Inc. magazine “audacious small company.” It has tripled its physical office three times and produced products that dominate markets for its clients.


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Revised and updated with the latest scientific research and updated case studies, the business classic that offers a revealing look at psychopaths in the workplace—how to spot their destructive behavior and stop them from creating chaos in the modern corporate organization.

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