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Tori Mancuso Comparative Social Movements Dr.

Shelby Fall 2013 Pathways and Perspective: an analysis on the viability and saliency of BikeSD With 350 days of temperate weather, San Diego is the perfect place to pedal. Still, the sunny city falls behind other cycling cities like Portland, Oregon and Boulder, Colorado where tumultuous forecasts would be expected to forestall biking [4]. Being a bikers paradise, it appears that San Diego is falling short of fulfilling its potential to become one of the countries best biking cities. Faced with this perplexing reality, BikeSD emerged as a non-profit organization with the aim of transforming San Diego into a world-class bicycling city [8]. Focusing on a predominantly political approach, BikeSD has made real and tangible progress in pursuit of this goal. Its most significant success has been the approval of the $200 million spending plan for San Diego Countys bicycle facilities [11]. While the biking infrastructure in San Diego has improved and will hopefully continue to improve as a result of BikeSDs efforts, the number of bikers on the roads are still lacking. In regards to this discrepancy, I argue that BikeSD must go beyond its technocratic efforts and adopt a more cultural mission in order to truly establish San Diego as the world-class bicycling city it has envisioned. Political, economic, and social theorists have long emphasized the importance of culture in the development and transition process. Specifically, Inglehart and Welzel assert that an alteration in cultural values must occur in order for political, economic, and or societal change to take root [6]. Thus, as a social movement aimed at changing San Diego into a biking city, BikeSD must extend its approach beyond structural efforts to instill the value of biking within

San Diegos culture. While social movement theory is both dynamic and multifaceted, structuralism underpins much of its workings. In this perspective, organizational factors such as resources, leadership, and political opportunities are deterministic of a movements success [2]. Resource mobilization theory is the premise on which most of this paradigm rests. The main conjecture of this theory is that the success of a social movement is contingent upon its organizational ability to acquire resources necessary to mobilize people that will pursue the movements goals. Resources in this sense mean support that may be moral, material, informational, and, or human [2]. Following this notion, BikeSD has adopted a structural approach to their cycling movement, asserting its belief in human design and its effects on the human psyche and behavior [8]. In this vision, design, which is a structural construct and consequent of resources, directly implicates culture and action. Subsequently, they have proclaimed their mission to advocate for a bicycling infrastructure design that will be the means in which they establish San Diego as a world-class bicycling city [8]. In this respect, BikeSD is championing the mantra if you build it, they will come. In other words, resources and structural constructs will lead to mobilization of the population. While a structural aspect is undeniably crucial to the viability of any and all social movements, there is a significant cultural feature within cycling movements that has been indicative of success [9]. The distinction between the biking community in Europe compared to that of the US best exemplifies the consequence of culture within a cycling social movement. In Europe, where cycling movements have predominantly experienced success, biking is valued as a legitimate form of mass-transit [9]. Consequently, bike culture is vast, extending to a broad and diversified demographic within society. Bikers represent all different ages, races, ethnicities,

classes, and social constructs [9]. When observing the streets of European cities like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, not only is the presence of biking notable, but so too is its character. Women and men of all ages dressed in business suits and dresses, as well as casual jeans and athletics all charter the streets on bikes alike [9]. Conversely, in America, the majority of bikers observed are students or athletes seen in sports gear or sweats. This is an indication that Americans value bicycling as a form of exercise or recreation as oppose to its European counterparts that value it as a form of mass-transit. While developing a biking infrastructure makes biking accessible, it does little to change the value and perception of biking in society. Although accessibility contributes to value in terms of convenience, it is not inherent in its conception. Moreover, values often mediate action, while accessibility does not [10]. For example, people generally drive the speed limit even when there are no police around to enforce it. Speeding is an accessible option, as the open road provides the opportunity and the car the capability. However, order and safety are valued in society, and thus the individual acts in accordance to value and not accessibility, abiding to the law. Accessibility may be a necessary condition for action, but it is not a sufficient condition. Conversely, according to rational thought theory, either intrinsic or instrumental value is a necessary and sufficient condition for action [10]. Therefore, value-oriented strategies are foundational in the mass-mobilization of social movements [5]. In respect to BikeSD, having an accessible biking infrastructure is important, but having a society that values biking is paramount. It is this cultural value that encourages people to engage in the act of biking, which brings the purpose of a biking infrastructure into fruition. The cycling movement in New York is a testament to the importance of culture in the face of structural efforts, specifically in regards to the relation between infrastructure and cultural

value. Despite the state-of-the art biking infrastructure that has been developed, New York still only has only 1 percent of its population commuting by bike [9]. Many residents report living within a reasonable measure of blocks from their work, but continue to commute by car [9]. Even in rush hour traffic observers note that the bike-paths remain scarcely populated. Moreover, the few that do utilize the facilities are observed to be predominantly bikemessengers and delivery men [9]. Although biking is both convenient and accessible in New York, it is undervalued. Lacking this cultural value, people will be unlikely to perceive biking as a legitimate mode of mass-transit, and thus continue to disregard its facilities. In New York and San Diego alike, cycling movements must work to transform the culture of biking by enhancing its value as a form of mass-transit. By pursuing an exclusively political and structural platform, BikeSDs values, principles, and goals do not fully support its mission to transform San Diego into a world-class biking city. In order to be classified with other cities like Portland, Boulder, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen, San Diego must not only have a biking infrastructure, it must also have a significant number of bikers that utilize these facilities. With respect to this dynamic, individuals must not only know that biking is an option, but understand why it is an option that they should chose. Thus, beyond establishing an infrastructure, BikeSD must provide a cause for conversion to biking by advocating its benefits as a mode of transportation. As previously stated, in order for the population to participate in the act of biking, they must hold this action as valuable. In its platform, BikeSD specifies why a biking infrastructure is of value in society, emphasizing reasons of safety and design. However, in its advocacy it provides little reason as to why the act of biking itself is of value. As rational-beings, individuals must know the benefits of biking in order to understand its value [10]. This

compelling rationale is largely absent in BikeSDs advocacy. Instead of taking on a cultural approach that promotes expanding the act of biking, BikeSD has adopted a structural approach that promotes improving the quality of biking. While this strategy may be effective in gaining the support of bike enthusiast and mobilizing individuals that already identify with the cycling movement, it will do little to engage a broader base of participants that is necessary to change the culture and perception of biking in San Diego. If San Diego is to be established as a world-class biking city, BikeSD must pursue a cultural approach aimed at instilling the value of biking in society by promoting its benefits as a form of mass-transit. With this cultural transformation, BikeSDs political and structural efforts will gain meaning. In regards to social movement theory, this approach refers to the notion of action mobilization. According to social theorists Snow and Benford, social movements are not simply carriers of ideas and meanings, but more significantly agents actively engaged in producing values and ideologies for constituents, antagonists, and bystanders [2] . By engaging in a process known as framing, social movements construct meaning to determine how particular events or situations are defined and, or perceived. Borrowing the notion of framing from Erving Goffman, the process is founded on the symbolic interactionist and constructionist principle that meaning and value are not intrinsic to the objects, events or experiences humans encounter. Instead, it holds that such significance is a psychological construct engendered through interpretive processes that are mediated by culture [2]. Thus, Snow and Benford argue that social movement success both within and across movements depends in part on the degree to which movements attend to problems of consensus and action mobilization through the core framing tasks of diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational framing [2]. Applied to social movements, this perspective asserts a connection between meaning and mobilization,

emphasising the significance of culture and discursive contexts. In this respect, consigning meaning and developing value through framing is a strategic imperative of social movements. With an emphasis on interpretive processes and the action of mobilization, this theory supports the assertion that BikeSD must adopt a cultural approach that extends beyond the structural perspective of resource mobilization theory. By pursuing and promoting a frame that elaborates on the meaning and value of bicycling in San Diego, BikeSD is more likely to mobilize the population and conjure the collective action of biking. In accordance to the framing perspective, society will not naturally or automatically give meaning to objects or circumstances like the construction and improvement of a biking infrastructure. In light of this, BikeSD must frame its movement in a diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational manner that gives value and meaning to the development of a world-class biking city. Firstly, BikeSD must develop a diagnostic approach that frames the experience of San Diegan transit as problematic and in need of change [2]. To this extent they have developed a diagnosed approach that defines San Diegan transit as problematic due to a human-engineered design that is centered on the automobile [8]. However, this frame does not readily translate into a solution. Following from this diagnostic frame, BikeSD must also develop a prognostic frame that prescribes a specific remedy, which specifies strategies and tactics for achieving this solution [2]. Accordingly, BikeSD has assumed a prognostic frame that asserts that the solution to San Diegan transit is the development of a world-class biking infrastructure, generally regarding its strategies as non-violent advocacy by emphasizing the value of a diversity of shared, learned understanding [8]. However, as Snow and Byrd observe in their research on Islamic Terrorist Movements, there is no guarantee that this prognosis will actually occur in the consilient manner that it is fashioned [2]. Hereby, BikeSD must construct vocabularies of

motive through a motivational frame that will enact their solution by promoting action mobilization. Such rhetoric, emphasises an ethical imperative and, or a cost and benefit analysis that is supportive of the movements efforts. Motivational frames aim to overcome free-rider issues and incentivise action [2]. Addressing this task, BikeSD has developed a motivation frame with multiple clauses. The first premise asserts that human beings respond to their environment, subsequently having an ability to redesign and transform their surroundings [8]. The emphasis here is agency and the ability for humans to impact their environment, thus calling on individuals to act. The second motivational vocabulary asserts that the current automobile centered environment excludes human dignity and transportation choice [8]. Here, individuals may be compelled to act on the ethical grounds of human dignity and choice. Furthermore, BikeSD promotes the value of diverse and shared learning, consequently compelling individuals to act on the moral grounds of a societal obligation to knowledge and understanding[8]. Finally, BikeSD asserts that the bicycle is an effective, financially responsible, and aesthetically elegant mode of transportation [8]. Here, individuals will be motivated to act on the self-interests of convenience, money, and appearance. Together these frames help give meaning to BikeSDs movement, providing an interpretive function of collective action. While framing contributes to constructs of meaning, the analytical utility of these framing task is contingent on the broader cultural context. Through agenic, interactive, and discursive processes known as framing articulation and elaboration, an SMO grafts cultural ideologies to develop a persuasive template for understanding its movement [2]. Frame articulation and elaboration involve the connection and emphasis of events, experiences, and standards of moral codes so they may relate in a convincing way [2]. Although BikeSD has satisfied the three framing tasks, diagnostic, prognostic and motivational, their framing articulation and elaboration

gives cause for fault. Intertwining ideologies of design, environment, human dignity, choice, efficiency, economics, and aesthetics, BikeSD articulates its frame in a convoluted and confusing manner that is hard to connect. As a result, the interpretive function of BikeSDs frame may be undermined and its consensus and activation mobilization diminished. The outcome of this fault can be observed in BikeSDs membership. With only 240 members, the organization has fallen far short of its goal to reach 1,200 by 9/30/2013 [11]. Issues of mobilization and membership are further related to faulty framing, regarding its prognostic frame that asserts that a biking infrastructure is the solution. Adhering to this prognosis, BikeSD has centered its goals and concentrated its efforts on political gains [11]. Consequently, BikeSD has disregarded grassroot efforts directly geared towards mobilizing a biking culture. As previously conjectured, in order to achieve this degree of mobilization, BikeSD must transform the value of bicycling in San Diegos society. By advocating a frame that champions bicycling as a legitimate form of mass transit as oppose to hobbies of leisure and fitness, BikeSD may be more successful in recruiting adherents and participants. Currently BikeSDs frame rests on the notions of design related to values of human dignity and choice [8]. Although these are relevant ideologies in society, transportation is not intrinsic to these values. In other words, because transportation does not normally fall under the human dignity paradigm, its hard to make the connection between the contextual problem and the diagnostic frame, which subsequently forestals correspondence with and between the prognostic and motivational frames. Without understanding the linkage between the features of the frame or their connection to society, individuals will not consign meaning as intended, and thus will be unlikely to identify with the movement [2]. Consequently, the interpretive power of BikeSDs frame is fairly weak as a form of

consensus and action mobilization. According to social movement theorists such as Mario Diani, the success of mobilization frames depend on their congruence with master frames that are dominant in the given political context [3]. Master frames refer to an inclusive and generic type of frame that is both wide in scope and influence [3]. By ascribing to these master frames,

social movements acquire a degree of resonance that is broad in interpretive breath, which subsequently enhances mobilization capacity. Accordingly, in order for BikeSD to enhance its mobilization capacity, it must articulate and elaborate a frame that champions biking as a form of mass-transit, which aligns with a master frame that is relevant within the current political setting. Given the current events, experiences, standards and moral codes of San Diegos political context, a more compelling way to articulate and elaborate BikeSDs frame is through an environmental perspective. Although human dignity and choice are still of relevance today, such an approach would have been better suited for the civil rights era, where such values conditioned the cultural, political, social, and economical context. With the imminent nature of climate change and the energy crisis, environmental protection has emerged as a more dominant master frame in our society [1]. While meaningful fulfillment of the civil rights movements and issues of human dignity still have a definitive bearing on American society and politics, the temporality and ubiquity of climate change and the energy crisis make environmentalism a more applicable and powerful frame. Following from this notion, BikeSD should reorient its frame with respect towards an environmental perspective. The predominant premise of its platform should be rearticulated to say something along the lines of, Our environment is largely human-engineered and has been designed around the automobile to the exclusion of environmental protection and natural resource conservation. Hereinforth, their movement is responsive to climate change and the

energy crisis, which is recognized and resonates with the vast majority of society. Following from this diagnosis, their prognostic frame should not only cite a bike infrastructure initiative, it should also include mention of mobilizing the population to adopt biking as a mode of transportation in order to reduce emissions and conserve resources. Subsequently, BikeSD should modify the motivational frame to emphasize the all-inclusive nature of the environment, making its consequence of greater relevence. In this respect, the motivation will extend beyond environmental concerns, as the effect of the environment will be seen as indirectly impact all aspects of life. In this vision, BikeSD might advocate the motivational frame that states, biking is an effective and responsible mode of transportation that promotes environmental, economical and social sustainability for the present and future generations. By emphasizing all interests, environmental, economic, political and social, BikeSDs movement is more likely to establish a fuller and more significant meaning in society, which is necessary for broader mobilization. Moreover, not only does this frame promote collective interests of environmental sustainability, it also emphasises personal interests of an individual quality of life and maybe even more significantly the quality of life of relatives, children, and future generations. Furthermore, BikeSDs motivational frame should emphasize the catastrophic consequence of climate change and resource exhaustion, inducing action by offsetting the cost calculous of inaction. Hereby, an environmental perspective is both a political relevant frame and a motivationally astute frame, calling upon moral, ethical, individual, and collective interests alike. Having developed into a formalized non-profit organization recognized as a 501 c 4, BikeSD is a model of progress [8]. With political strategies that are pointed and powerful, BikeSD has been successful in fulfilling a number of its goals. Some notable achievements include SANDAGs approval of $200 million for bike projects and the passing of Council

Resolution 308024, which prioritizes bicycling infrastructure improvements to enhance public safety [11]. Despite these triumphant efforts, BikeSDs mission only represents a partial vision of a world-class biking city. Favoring structural perspectives over action mobilization perspectives of social movement theory, BikeSD has neglected the deterministic aspect of culture in social change. In order for their structural achievements to take root and be of real significance in society, bike culture must transform so biking may be recognized as a form of mass-transit. BikeSDs political progress may characterize it as a viable SMO, but to become a salient SMO it must ensure that such progress gains cultural meaning in society. In this respect, BikeSDs political gains need to be assimilated in the culture of San Diego. It is not enough for biking facilities to simply exist. If they are to truly function, they need to be recognized and utilized. There must be a biking infrastructure, but there must also be a biking constituency. Hereby, not only must BikeSD institute structural constructs to establish access and presence, it must also develop societal constructs to legitimize support. Hereinforth, political will and public perception must work in tandem as a reciprocal process, mutually reinforcing social change. Through pathways and perspective, place and presence, structure and culture, BikeSD will transform San Diego into a world-class biking city.

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regional populism in Italy." American Sociological Review (1996): 1053-1069. 4) Duzer, Ryan V. "Top 10 Cycling Cities in US." Travel Channel. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. 5) Eyerman, Ron. Social movements: A cognitive approach. Penn State Press, 1991. 6) Inglehart, Ronald, and Christian Welzel. "How Development Leads to Democracy." Feb 2009. Council on Foreign Relations. Dec 2013. 7) McCarthy, John D., and Mayer N. Zald. "Resource mobilization and social movements: A partial theory." American journal of sociology (1977): 1212-1241. 8) "Mission, Vision, Values, and Guiding Principles." BikeSD. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 201 9) Rosenthal, Elizabeth. "On Biking, Why Can't the U.S. Learn Lessons from Europe?" By Elisabeth Rosenthal: Yale Environment 360. Yale University, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. 10) "Value (ethics)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. 11) "Year 1 Goals." BikeSD. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.