Laila Kassam of Animal Think Tank on popular protest movements, mass arrests, and publicity stunts

The Sentience Institute Podcast

12-05-2020 • 1時間 37分

Social movements often seek to shift public opinion and mobilize supporters on a large scale. But which tactics achieve these goals most effectively? And how have social movements achieved this in the past?

Dr Laila Kassam is a co-founder of Animal Think Tank and the co-editor of the forthcoming book, Rethinking Food and Agriculture: New Ways Forward.

Topics discussed in the episode:

  • “The social movement ecology” and the theoretical framework that Animal Think Tank uses (3:10)
  • The importance of public opinion for social change, and the pros and cons of actions that polarize public opinion (16:35)
  • The evidence base the Animal Think Tank and This Is An Uprising use, and the weaknesses of using social movement evidence to glean strategic knowledge for the farmed animal movement (20:55)
  • Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rebellion — what they’re doing, why, and Animal Think Tank’s lessons from the first actions (25:48)
  • Sacrifice, demandingness, and mass arrests as potential motivators and demotivators for activists (33:07)
  • Creative actions, stunts, gimmicks and the effects that these have on perceptions of social movements (42:07)
  • The value of confrontational tactics like Direct Action Everywhere’s disruption of Bernie Sanders’ rally (49:30)
  • Whether veganism or “active and sustained participation” in the movement is more tractable (55:38)
  • Animal Think Tank’s current research priorities (1:02:22)
  • Other resources that Animal Think Tank recommends reading (1:09:12)
  • Rethinking Food and Agriculture — Laila’s co-edited book and the value of expertise in “sustainable agriculture” for the farmed animal movement (1:17:17)
  • Laila’s experience with international development work and her concerns with this field (1:25:15)
  • The importance of funding constraints for Animal Rebellion and other organisations focusing on building a mass protest movement (1:33:08)

Resources discussed in the episode are available at

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