Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. James Petersen

Second Advisor

Dr. Stanley Robin

Third Advisor

Dr. Gerald Markle

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis is a socio-historical analysis of the animal rights social movement in the United States of America at the end of the 19th and 20th centuries. The theoretical model is resource mobilization theory, especially McCarthy and Zald's (1973) entrepreneurial model. The method, which contrasts this social movement at two points in time, is informed by Skocpol's (1984) interpretative historical sociology. In particular, leadership, ideology, organizational structure, and strategy tactics in both eras are examined. Comparing the two manifestations of animal rights protest, the data show that: (a) Leadership and organizational structure, though similar in many respects, are more professionalized in the contemporary era; (b) Ideology has developed from an emphasis on welfare, to a concern with rights and in the 1980s, to a call for liberation of animals; (c) Strategy and tactics are remarkably similar in the two eras, though the use of mass media, and the consideration of civil disobedience is more characteristic of the modern movement. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)