Title page for ETD etd-04042007-171659

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lu, Alexander
URN etd-04042007-171659
Title An Examination of the Chinese Immigrant Social Movements during the Chinese Exclusion Era
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Pedriana, Nicholas Committee Chair
Chen, Xi Committee Member
Weil, Fredrick Committee Member
  • subterfuge
  • mobilization
  • merchant
  • indeterminacy
Date of Defense 2007-03-26
Availability unrestricted
This paper further develops a law-centered “political process” model of social movements by analyzing historical changes in American immigration law and the collective behavior of Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans during the Chinese Exclusion Era. I present an interactive political process framework that considers not only how the broader political environment enables and constrains a movement, but also how challengers respond by actively reshaping the environment. I revisit the political process model’s core concept of “political opportunity structure” by examining legal rules and institutions, generally, and the indeterminacy of law, specifically. I apply this framework to the Chinese community’s initial use of litigation to fight the exclusion laws and their move towards direct action techniques to exploit the ambiguities of the exclusion laws. In this respect, Chinese immigrants mobilized and created legal resources.
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