January is definitely the right month to be reading Tina Rosenberg's Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World. It's the time of year when you're open to a little self-help and behavior modification advice. So here we have the latest thinking about how to be better, more effective activists.
In the video above, the author gives a good introduction to the book and the Q&A that follows will be interesting to those who have already read the book. Join the Club has it's own website where you can explore additional applications of the book's ideas. Rosenberg also writes for the New York Times 'Fixes' blog and she provides links to articles there. A complete listing of her reporting for the Times is available here. The Diane Rehm Show also has an audio interview with transcript and here's an excerpt from YES! Magazine on the technique's use during the Arab Spring,
Farrell: How did you see a social cure at work in Egypt?
Rosenberg: First of all, obviously a lot of the tactics that CANVAS [the group that formed out of Serbia’s Otpor and which has trained many activists around the world] used were at work in Egypt—not necessary the social cure ones, but the more strategic ones, such as being nice to the police, et cetera. I think those are very important, but the social cure was evident in the way people felt about themselves during the revolution. Going into Tahrir Square, being surrounded by this wave of massive goodwill and the feeling that you’re a hero, that you’re daring, and that you’re doing something important. I think that was absolutely crucial in Egypt, and that’s the social cure.When reading this book, you can't help but think of all sorts of social ills you want to see vanquished by flash mobs of enthusiastic, creative young (or young-at-heart) people. Were you thinking about climate change? Gun culture? Closing Guantanamo? Passing VAWA? Here's a little inspiration for you from Amnesty France: