Francesca Polletta

Professor, Sociology
School of Social Sciences

Ph.D., Yale University, 1994, Sociology

Phone: (949) 824-5041
Fax: (949) 824-4717

University of California, Irvine
4183 Social Science Plaza A
Mail Code: 5100
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Francesca  Polletta

Social Movements, Democracy, Culture, Gender, Social Theory
2013-2015 Vreije Universitat (Amsterdam), Social Sciences International Fellowship

2013 Sociological Research Association. Elected member.

2011 National Science Foundation Grant for “Improving Online Deliberation with Computational Supports for Frame Reflection," with Geraldine Gay.

2008 American Sociological Association, Sociology of Culture Section, Outstanding Book Award, Honorable Mention for It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics

2007 American Sociological Association, Collective Behavior/Social Movements Section, Outstanding Book Award for It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics

2007 American Sociological Association, Political Sociology Section, Distinguished Scholarship Award, Honorable Mention for It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics

2007 Association for Humanist Sociology, Book Prize, Honorable Mention for It Was like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics

2004-2005 Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation

2003 American Sociological Association, Collective Behavior/Social Movements Section, Distinguished Scholarly Book Award for Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements

2003 American Sociological Association, Political Sociology Section, Honorable Mention for Freedom Is an Endless Meeting

2003 Society for the Study of Social Problems, 2003 C. Wright Mills Award, finalist: Freedom Is an Endless Meeting

2003 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title, Freedom Is an Endless Meeting

2000-2001 Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) Fellow

1999-2000 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Francesca Polletta came to UCI from Columbia University, where she was an assistant and associate professor of sociology. She works in the areas of culture, politics, social movements, and law. Much of her work investigates how culture sets the terms of strategic action, but culture understood less as beliefs and worldviews than as familiar relationships, institutional routines, and conventions of self-expression. In her award-winning Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements (2002), Polletta showed that activists over the course of a century have styled their radical democracies variously on friendship, religious fellowship, and tutelage—and fractured along the lines of those relationships. In her award-winning It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics (2006), she investigated the political advantages and risks of telling stories, especially for disadvantaged groups. Popular conventions of storytelling have served to reproduce the status quo, she argues, less by limiting what disadvantaged groups can imagine than by limiting the occasions on which they can tell authoritative stories. Polletta’s current research focuses on new modes of citizen participation, and aims both to account for the new enthusiasm for participatory democracy and to determine whether popular participation has become effectively detached from power.
Publications 2016 Francesca Polletta, “Participatory Enthusiasms: A Recent History of Citizen Engagement Initiatives.” Journal of Civil Society 12(3): 231-246.

2016 Francesca Polletta and Zaibu Tufail, “Helping Without Caring: Role Definition and the Gender-Stratified Effects of Emotional Labor in Debt Settlement Firms.” Work and Occupations 43(4) 401–433

2016 Francesca Polletta and Katt Hoban, “Why Consensus? Prefiguration in Three Activist Eras,” Journal of Social and Political Psychology 4(1): 286-301.

2015 Eric Baumer, Francesca Polletta, Nicole Pierski, and Geri K. Gay, “A Simple Intervention to Reduce Framing Effects in Perceptions of Global Climate Change,” Environmental Communication, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2015.1084015

2015 Zaibu Tufail and Francesca Polletta, “The Gendering of Emotional Flexibility: Why Angry Women are Praised and Devalued in Debt Settlement Firms.” Gender and Society 29 (4): 484-508.

2015 Jacomijne Prins, Francesca Polletta, Jacqueline Stecklenberg, and Bert Klandermans, “Exploring Variation in the Moroccan Dutch Collective Narrative: An Intersectional Approach," Political Psychology 36(2): 165-180.

2014 Francesca Polletta, “Participatory Democracy’s Moment,” Journal of International Affairs 68(1): 79-92

2014 Francesca Polletta, “Is Participation without Power Good Enough?” Sociological Quarterly 55 (3): 453-466.

2014 Francesca Polletta and Christine Tomlinson, “Date Rape after the Afterschool Special: Narrative Trends in the Televised Depiction of Social Problems.” Sociological Forum 29(3): 527-548.

2014 Francesca Polletta and Zaibu Tufail, “The Moral Obligations of Some Debts.” Sociological Forum 29 (1): 1-28

2013 Francesca Polletta and Pang Ching Bobby Chen, “Gender and Public Talk: Accounting for Women’s Variable Participation in the Public Sphere.” Sociological Theory 31(4): 291-317.
  2013. “The Limits of Plot” (with Monica Trigoso, Britni Adams, and Amanda Ebner). American Journal of Cultural Sociology 1(3): 289-320.
  2013. Eric Baumer, Francesca Polletta, Nicole Pierski, Christopher Celaya, Karen Rosenblatt, and Geraldine Gay. “Developing Computational Supports for Frame Reflection.” In Proceedings of the iConference (Fort Worth, TX).
  2013. “Participatory Democracy in the New Millennium.” Contemporary Sociology 42(1): 40-50.

2013. Jacomijne Prins, Jacqueline Stecklenberg, Bert Klandermans, and Francesca Polletta. “Telling The Collective Story? Moroccan-Dutch Young Adults' Negotiation of a Collective Identity Through Storytelling.” Qualitative Sociology 36 (1): 81-99.
  2012. “Analyzing Popular Beliefs About Storytelling.” In Varieties of Narrative Analysis, edited by James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium, Sage Publications.

2012. “The Civil Rights Movement.” In Contention in Context: Political Opportunities and the Emergence of Protest edited by Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper (pp. 133-152). Stanford University Press.
  2012. “Narrative and Social Movements” (with Pang Ching Bobby Chen). In The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, Ron Jacobs, and Philip Smith. Oxford Univ. Press, 2012.

2012. “Three Mechanisms by Which Culture Shapes Movement Strategy: Repertoires, Institutional Norms, and Metonymy.” In Strategies for Social Change, edited by Gregory Maney, Rachel Kutz-Flamenbaum, Deana Rohlinger, and Jeff Goodwin. University of Minnesota Press.

2010. “Social Movement Cultures.” In The Sociology of Culture: A Handbook, edited by Laura Grindstaff, John Hall, and Ming-Chen Lo. Routledge.
  2011. “The Sociology of Storytelling” (with Pang Ching Bobby Chen, Beth Gardner, and Alice Motes). Annual Review of Sociology 37:109-130
  2009. “How To Tell a New Story About Battering.” Violence Against Women 15: 1490-1508
  2008. “Is Information Good for Democracy? Link-Posting in an Online Forum” (with Pang Ching Chen and Christopher Anderson). Journal of Public Deliberation 5(1) article 2.
  2008. “Storytelling in Politics.” Contexts 7(4): 20-25.
  2008. “Culture and Social Movements.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
  2008. “Just Talk: Public Deliberation after 9/11.” Journal of Public Deliberation 4 (1)
  2006 It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics. University of Chicago Press.

2006 “Awkward Movements.” Mobilization 11(4).

2006 “Is Telling Stories Good for Democracy? Rhetoric in Public Deliberation after 9/11” (with John Lee). American Sociological Review 71 (5): 699-723.

2006 “Frames and Their Consequences” (with M. Kai Ho). In The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Studies, edited by Robert E. Goodin and Charles Tilly. Oxford Univ. Press (2006).

2005 “Public Deliberation after 9/11” (with Lesley Wood). In Wounded City: The Social Effects of the World Trade Center Attack on New York City, edited by Nancy Foner. Russell Sage.

2004 “Culture In and Outside Institutions.” In Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change 25: 161-183.

2004 “Can You Celebrate Dissent? Holidays and Social Protest.” In The Ways We Celebrate, edited by Amitai Etzioni. New York University Press.

2004 “The Emotional Dimensions of Social Movements” (with Jeff Goodwin and James Jasper). In The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi. Blackwell Publishers.

2003 “Culture is Not Just in Your Head.” In Rethinking Social Movements, edited by Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper. Rowman and Littlefield.

2002 Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements. University of Chicago Press

2001 “Collective Identity in Social Movements” (with James Jasper). Annual Review of Sociology 27: 283-305.

2001 “The Laws of Passion.” Law and Society Review 35: 467-493.

2001 Passionate Politics: Emotions in Social Movements, edited with Jeff Goodwin and James Jasper. University of Chicago Press
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Last updated 12/13/2016