Gregory M. Maney
Professor of Sociology
Degrees: PHD, 2001, Univ Wisc Madison; MSC, 1994, Univ Mass Amherst; AB, 1989, Brown Univ
My recent research focuses upon peace movement discourses, the dynamics of ethno-nationalist conflict, and strategies for sustaining peace processes. Along with two colleagues, I recently received grants from the National Science Foundation and ASA's Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline to collect and analyze official statements issued by 15 different US peace movement organizations over 5 separate conflict periods. The data reveal that peace activists respond to dominant discourses by either appropriating and refashioning their elements to enhance the appeal of oppositional claims (what I call harnessing hegemony) or by rejecting their value and/or relevance (what I term challenging hegemony). The relative mixture of these responses depends upon organizational identity and ideology as well as the discursive and emotional opportunities to gain resonance and potency available at a particular historical moment.
To explore the dynamics of political contention in an ethnically divided society, I created a database of political events taking place in Northern Ireland between 1956 and 1972. Using this data, I have found that armed minority insurgency and civil rights protests facilitated one another's emergence by altering the structure of political opportunity. The data also support a see-saw conceptualization of political opportunity structures in ethnically divided societies, whereby political openings for one ethnonationalist group are widely perceived as political threats and closure for the other.
In a comparative analysis of recent peace processes in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, my co-authors and I emphasize the importance of dimensions of peace processes that collectively empower participants as well as create mutually desired certainties. In terms of applied social research, I recently received a grant from the Sociological Initiatives Foundation to partner with the Workplace Project to examine the human rights impact of different local policy responses to day labor markets on Long Island. Based upon a survey of 146 day laborers randomly selected in 8 different municipalities, we found that efforts to eliminate day labor markets through threatening, fining, and arresting day laborers and contractors contributed not only to multiple human rights abuses, but also to deteriorating community relations. In contrast, establishing official hiring sites protected day laborers from a variety of human rights abuses while also improving community relations.