In this lecture, Dr. Dana Fisher overviews the conceptual and methodological approaches used by sociologists to study civil society and social movements. She notes that the research focuses on organizational and institutional forms, as well as forms of action. She then presents an example of studying urban environmental stewardship to exemplify the use of mixed methods in studying civil society, and highlights the use of network analysis and survey methodologies. She also presents an example of studying the climate change movement, and describes the survey and social media analysis used to study the connectivity and communication within social movements.
Connolly, J.J.T., Svendsen, E.S., Fisher, D.R., and Campbell, L.K. (2015). Mixed methods analysis of urban environmental stewardship networks. In M. Ruth (ed.), Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Environmental Studies (pp. 102–121). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Dana R. Fisher is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between environmentalism and democracy, most recently studying environmental stewardship and American climate politics. Her research employs a mix methods approach that integrates data collected through open-ended, semi-structured interviews and participant observation with various forms of survey data. Her current research involves data collected from environmental activists, stewardship organizations, volunteer stewards, and students in the DC school system, as well as political elites engaged in climate policy making in the United States and internationally.