Date of Award

Spring 3-28-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Griff Tester

Second Advisor

Adia Harvey-Wingfield

Third Advisor

Anthony Ryan Hatch


After its abandonment in the 1980s, threat has re-emerged as an area of theoretical importance in understanding social movement mobilization (Jasper 1998). This case study examines the role of threat in mobilizing members of a movement to empower the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation (a small tribal community in NC). The study explores threats and the emotions that make them up, while also investigating the relevance of other prominent assumptions embedded in mobilization theories. The study employed mixed methodologies including focus groups, individual interviews, and participant observation. Findings supported the idea that threats may be partially responsible for creating mobilization, but also suggest that prominent threats faced by this community complicate the ways in which threat is understood. The findings also shed light on limitations of the prominent Weber-Michels model for movement growth/decline, and highlight potential areas of interest for future research with Indigenous communities.