Walker

Edward Walker

Affiliations
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
Areas of Expertise:
  • Civic Engagement
  • Social Movements
  • Economic Growth & Innovation

About Edward

Walker’s research focuses on social movements, the political mobilization and influence of business, and organizational and organizing processes. His primary area of work involves understanding how businesses have adopted grassroots organizing practices, as well as the ways that social movement groups and community organizations challenge companies, governments, and other institutions. He is also interested in the politics of health and health care, contention surrounding energy politics and the environment, and corporate social responsibility. He has consulted with community organizations and foundations, and has taken part in efforts to build bridges between university research and the needs of local communities.

Podcast

Publications

"Confronting the State, the Corporation, and the Academy: The Influence of Institutional Targets on Social Movement Repertoires" (with Andrew W. Martin and John D. McCarthy). American Journal of Sociology 114, no. 1 (2008): 35-76.
Employs a unique data set of protests reported in the New York Times (1960-90) to examine how the tactics of protest groups are, in part, contingent on the institutional target a movement selects. Protest groups deploy significantly more radical tactics when targeting corporations or educational institutions than they do when protesting government policies.
"Privatizing Participation: Civic Change and the Organizational Dynamics of Grassroots Lobbying Firms" American Sociological Review 74, no. 1 (2009): 83-105.
Examines the founding of Grassroots Lobbying Firms (GLFs) that mobilize public participation on behalf of paying organizational clients such as corporations and industry associations using direct mail, phone banking, and other communications technologies as the field expanded in dramatic fashion in the closing decades of the 20th century; finds that these consulting firms were founded primarily in response to the changing advocacy environment and in line with expanding business political activity.
"Legitimacy, Strategy, and Resources in the Survival of Community-Based Organizations" (with John D. McCarthy). Social Problems 57 (2010): 315-340.
Examines the longevity of Community-Based Organizations between 1990-2004 and finds that beyond the considerable effects of externally obtained resources, CBOs also benefit substantially by engaging in even a small amount of grassroots fundraising, as well as by making efforts to signal their legitimacy to local communities.
"Replacing Members with Managers? Mutualism among Membership and Non-Membership Advocacy Organizations in the U.S." (with John D. McCarthy and Frank R. Baumgartner). American Journal of Sociology 116 (2011): 1284-1337.
Discusses associations with a professional staff but no members (non-membership advocacy organizations, or NMAOs); finds that there has not been a significant proportional increase in the population of such groups since the 1960s, and that membership and non-membership groups often play complementary and supportive roles in advocacy fields.
"Signaling Responsibility, Deflecting Controversy: Strategic and Institutional Influences on the Charitable Giving of Corporate Foundations in the Health Sector" Research in Political Sociology 21 (2013): 181-214.
Examines influences on the charitable giving of corporate foundations associated with the largest firms in health-related industries in the U.S., finding that their giving is influenced by the giving of other non-corporate foundations in the health sector as well as by controversies faced by the foundation’s corporate parent and also the firm’s financial and directorship characteristics.
Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Shows how, spurred by the post-1960s explosion of new advocacy organizations and rising business political engagement, elite consultants have learned how to deploy new technologies to commercialize mass participation. Uses evidence from interviews, surveys, and public records to paint a detailed portrait of these consultants, their clients, and the effects of their campaigns on participation and policymaking.

In the News

Edward Walker quoted in Benjamin Elgin and Zachary Mider, "Fossil Fuels' Fishy New Friends" Bloomberg Businessweek, November 16, 2017.
Edward Walker quoted in Benjamin Elgin and Zachary Mider, "Fossil Fuels' Fishy New Friends" Bloomberg Businessweek, November 16, 2017.
Edward Walker quoted on hotels' public call to mobilize against Airbnb in Katie Benner, "Inside the Hotel Industry’s Plan to Combat Airbnb" New York Times, April 16, 2017.
Edward Walker quoted on Democratic-led protests and social movements in Ronald J. Hansen, "Republicans Face Demands for Town Hall Congressional Recess" The Arizona Republic, February 25, 2017.
Edward Walker quoted on corporate ethics and politics in David Ng, "For Cirque, Disney and Others, Does Standing up for LGBT Rights Require Ethical Acrobatics?" Los Angeles times, May 27, 2016.
Edward Walker quoted on political boycott of ride-sharing services in Marissa Lang and Carolyn Said, "Biz & Tech" San Francisco Chronicle , January 30, 2017.
Guest to discuss "Shopping as a Political Act" on The 1A, Edward Walker, February 22, 2017.
Edward Walker quoted on tech-companies attempts to influence government in Carolyn Said, "Uber, Lyft Pullout in Austin Shows Political Prowess" San Francisco Chronicle, May 11, 2016.
Edward Walker quoted on the marketing strategy of sharing-economy firms in Cecilia Kang, "Airbnb Takes Its Case to U.S. Mayors Conference" New York Times, January 21, 2016.
Edward Walker quoted on the image of tech companies in Davey Alba, "This Was the Year Tech Became the Bad Guy" Wired, December 30, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted in Kristen Brown, "Meet the Apptivists: The Volunteer Lobbyists Helping Keep Airbnb, Uber, and Other Startups Alive" Fusion, November 16, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on the share economy controversy in Carolyn Said, "Airbnb, Uber: ‘We are the Saviors of the Middle Class’" San Francisco Chronicle, November 10, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on grassroots mobilization by Airbnb in Carolyn Said, "Airbnb to Mobilize Users Nationwide to Lobby for Its Model" San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on grassroots campaigning by Airbnb in Biz Carson, "Airbnb is fighting a critical war in its own back yard this week" Business Insider, November 2, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on the business of producing crowds on demand in Kieron Monks, "The lucrative business of crowds for hire" CNN, October 16, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on lobbying by startup firms in Justin Rohrlich, "Why Can't Startup Companies Get U.S. Government Contracts?" Vice, September 24, 2015.
Edward Walker's research on how documentaries affect social change discussed in "Do Documentaries Make a Difference?," Boston Globe, September 13, 2015.
Edward Walker's research on documentary films as sources of social change discussed in Tom Jacobs. Edward Walker, "A Fracking Effective Film," Pacific Standard, September 3, 2015.
Edward Walker's research on the impact of the anti-fracking movement discussed in "Gasland: HBO Documentary Key Driver of Opposition to Fracking, Study Finds," The Guardian, September 2, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on social movements and social media in Dan Frosch and Scott Calvert, "A Year After Ferguson, ‘Black Lives Matter’ Still Wields Influence" Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2015.
"The Uber-ization of Activism," Edward Walker, New York Times, August 6, 2015.
"Expanding the Scope of 'Activism'," Edward Walker, Mobilizing Ideas, August 5, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on grassroots lobbying regulations in Emily Green, "Measure Seeks to Reveal Names, Funding behind Indirect Lobbying" San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted in Alex Hertel-Fernandez, "Who Owns Your Politics? The Emergence of Employee Mobilization as a Source of Corporate Political Influence" New America Foundation, July 6, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted in Lee Drutman and Steven Teles, "Why Congress Relies on Lobbyists Instead of Thinking for Itself" The Atlantic, March 10, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on soda tax ballot measures, "Who's Killing the Soda Taxes?" Healthy Magazine, July 16, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on grassroots lobbying by the hotel industry in Reity O'Brien, "In Cities and States across the U.S., It's the Hotel Industry versus Airbnb" Mashable, July 15, 2015.
"Beyond the Rhetoric of the 'Sharing Economy'," Edward Walker, Contexts, February 24, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on lobbying and political expenditures in Erin Quinn and Chris Young, "DC Influencers Spend More on Advertising and PR than Lobbying" Time, January 15, 2015.
Edward Walker quoted on the lobbying strategies of a new generation of businesses in Carolyn Said, "Uber, Lyft, Airbnb Harness Users to Lobby Lawmakers for Them" San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2015.
"How Business Funded the Anti-Soda Tax Coalition," Edward Walker, The Washington Post, November 24, 2014.
"If You Can Fake Spontaneity You Have It Made: Five Key Questions about the Grassroots Industry," Edward Walker, Interview with Henry Farrell, Washington Post, June 2, 2014.
"Grassroots, Astroturf, and Industry Activism," Edward Walker, Interview with Jon Smajda, The Society Pages, July 15, 2010.
"Grass-Roots Mobilization, by Corporate America," Edward Walker, New York Times, August 11, 2012.
Guest to discuss “Grassroots Movements versus the Machine” on Huffpost Live, Edward Walker, September 6, 2012.
Edward Walker's research on non-membership advocacy organizations discussed in Jessica Ruvinsky. Edward Walker, "The Evolution of Membership," Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2012.
Edward Walker's research on organizing discussed in Laura Legere. Edward Walker, "With United Shale Advocates, the Marcellus Shale Coalition Bets on a 'Citizens' Movement'," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 25, 2014.