Recruiting inclusiveness: Intersectionality, social movements, and youth online

Thomas Elliott, Jennifer Earl, Thomas V. Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The majority of research on intersectionality and social movements has focused on agenda-setting or internal identity processes. However, little research has focused on the ways in which social movements present themselves as intersectional, particularly in recruitment, which is important for building inclusive movements. In this chapter, we begin to outline a theory of movement recruitment based around intersectional identities that draws on work on coalitional recruitment and concepts from framing. In particular, we argue that "identity bridging," which occurs when two or more identities are linked during recruitment attempts, is a potential tool for inclusive and intersectional recruitment. We evaluate the extent to which movements engage in this style of recruitment using data on intersectional youth identities acknowledged on web-addressable advocacy spaces. Youth are at a critical moment in their identity development, and so it is especially important to engage them in ways that respect their developing intersectional identities. We find that, overall, most movement sites do not engage in identity bridging, and those that do rarely move beyond bridging the youth identities with one other aspect of identity. Based on our theory, this would help to explain why so many movements struggle with issues of inclusivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-311
Number of pages33
JournalResearch in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
StatePublished - 2017


  • Intersectionality
  • Micro-mobilization
  • Recruitment
  • Social movements
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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