Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Political Science

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Charles Finocchiaro

Abstract

Expressive forms of collective and individual mobilization of the evangelical population in the United States have been understudied in both social movement theory and religion and politics literature. While these forms of mobilization are not the only form of mobilization, they are important to understanding what specific issues evangelicals are feeling aggrieved about. Current research such as Wong (2018a; 2018b) and Sides, Tesler, and Vavreck (2018) have found that there is a growing sense of racial anxiety among the ranks of white evangelicals. Hence, it is likely that evangelicals, at least white evangelicals, are feeling a sense of marginalization.

I theorize that a growing feeling of social marginalization is driving evangelicals to mobilize using forms of expressive mobilization such as political consumerism and Twitter venting. These forms of expression help to alleviate their social strain and promote their Biblical values publicly as a way of “identity claiming”. I interview clergy in three different states, perform case studies, and analyze Twitter data to test this theoretical assertion. I find that, while evangelicals are demonstrating signs of social marginalization, they are only mobilizing under a very specific set of circumstances. Their proclivity towards individual salvation and otherworldliness hinders a sense of “collective identity” which is essential to collective action.

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