Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Casey T. Harris

Committee Member

Christopher A. Shields

Second Committee Member

Douglas J. Adams

Abstract

Much of the prior research on white power groups focuses on very rare outcomes – criminal events, especially violent ones – without as much attention devoted to the more common or fundamental activities that often work to start the mobilization process for ethnocentric groups and the individuals associated with them. Broadly, the goal of the current study is to fill this gap in knowledge by integrating prominent criminological theories and themes drawn from the social movement literature in order to explore the geographic distribution and macro-level correlates of ideologically-motivated white power movement activities. Specifically, I implement content analysis techniques of open source and news media materials that geo-locate a wide variety of different white power events expected to signify support and/or mobilization (e.g., rallies), which I then aggregate and pair with demographic and structural measures drawn from the United States Census’s American Communities Survey. The nation-level results indicate that white power organizations target traditionally conservative and financially well-off medium sized towns that have relatively small foreign-born populations. The nation-level results are tempered by the wide variability found in the regional models, highlighting the secretive, grassroots approach typically employed by white power activists.

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