Focusing on the street AIDS activist movement ACT UP, this article explores the question of social movement sustainability. Emotions figure centrally in two ways. First, I argue that the emotion work of movements, largely ignored by scholars, is vital to their ability to develop and thrive over time. I investigate the ways AIDS activists nourished and extended an "emotional common sense" that was amenable to their brand of street activism, exploring, for example, the ways in which ACT UP marshaled grief and tethered it to anger; reoriented the object of gay pride away from community stoicism and toward gay sexual difference and militant activism; transformed the subject and object of shame from gay shame about homosexuality to government shame about its negligent response to AIDS; and gave birth to a new "queer" identity that joined the new emotional common sense, militant politics, and sexradicalism into a compelling package that helped to sustain the movement. Second, I investigate the emotions generated in the heat of the action that also helped the street AIDS activist movement flourish into the early 1990s.
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Research Article| February 21 2006
Life During Wartime: Emotions and The Development of Act Up
Mobilization: An International Quarterly (2002) 7 (2): 177–200.
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Deborah Gould; Life During Wartime: Emotions and The Development of Act Up. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 1 June 2002; 7 (2): 177–200. doi: https://doi.org/10.17813/maiq.7.2.8u264427k88vl764
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