Chapter

Rock the Boat, Don't Rock the Boat, Baby: Ambivalence and the Emergence of Militant Aids Activism

Deborah Gould

in Passionate Politics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780226303987
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304007.003.0009
Rock the Boat, Don't Rock the Boat, Baby: Ambivalence and the Emergence of Militant Aids Activism

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Militant AIDS activist groups began to emerge in 1986–87 in various lesbian and gay communities around the United States. Why did lesbians and gay men become politically active in the face of AIDS, and why did they embrace angry and militant street activism after a generation of engagement in routine interest group politics? In an account that challenges standard social movement theory, this chapter demonstrates how emotions and their expression — notably shame, fear, pride, grief, indignation, and anger — shaped lesbian and gay responses to the AIDS epidemic, sometimes encouraging lesbian and gay quiescence or community self-help, at other times animating militant political activism. It draws on evidence from Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco.

Keywords: social movements; lesbians; gays; AIDS activists; street activism; emotions; political activism

Chapter.  9844 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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