Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
CIW, Collective Identity, Conscience Constituency, Farmworkers, Immokalee, Mobilization
What factors have facilitated the success of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)? This is the key question that this study attempts to answer. The answer to this question can provide valuable lessons for other farmworker organizations and unions. Social movement literature emphasizes 1) effective leadership; 2) collective identity; 3) the strategic use of various sources of power; 4) conscience constituency involvement; and 5) political opportunities as factors necessary for mobilization. I have used these five factors to analyze the success of the CIW.
The design of this research study includes both participant-observation and in-depth interviews. Subjects for in-person interviews were selected from three categories: 1) CIW staff; 2) Immokalee farmworkers; 3) student supporters of the CIW. Participant-observation was used to gather field notes in the community of Immokalee, FL.
My findings suggest that since CIW staff members are elected from the farmworker community, the leaders have local knowledge and motivation. The CIW has emphasized the creation a collective farmworker identity that transcends ethnic divisions. The CIW has successfully withdrawn five sources of power from growers and corporations through innovative tactics and strategies. The sources of power withdrawn include: 1) intangible factors; 2) material resources; 3) human resources; 4) skills and knowledge and 5) authority. Finally, the conscience constituency involvement of college and university students has helped the CIW to achieve its goals. I have discovered that the CIW has achieved success despite the presence of political obstacles. Therefore, political opportunities are not a factor contributing to the CIW success.
Walsh, J. (2005). Migrant Mobilization: Factors Contributing to the Success of the Coalition of Immokaleee Workers (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1328