- Silencing to Give Voice
- Backstage Preparations in the Undocumented Youth Movement in Los Angeles
- Qualitative Sociology
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Building upon intensive ethnographic research on the undocumented youth movement in Los Angeles, this paper investigates the backstage work done by the leaders and activists within a movement to create cohesive and disciplined frontstage performances. These backstage techniques and strategies are important to examine because frontstage unity is not natural or automatic. As most campaigns are made up of heterogeneous individuals, organizations and groups, frontstage coherence is something that needs to be worked upon. We show that this essential backstage work consists of 1) training activists to become disciplined frontstage performers; 2) converging the feelings of activists through emotionally intensive disciplinary techniques; and 3) managing differences and conflicts in the free spaces of the movement. This paper thus aims to encourage scholars to look under the hood of public protests and give greater weight to studying the backstage work needed to produce strong and powerful voices.
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