Edward Walker

Edward Walker

Professor & Chair

Office: 235 Haines Hall

Email: walker@soc.ucla.edu

Phone: 310-206-2918

Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae

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I am a sociologist interested in the political activities of corporations and social movements.

My research has investigated how corporations intervene in public life through mobilizing grassroots campaigns and partnering with nonprofit organizations, the ways that business contexts structure the tactical choices of protest groups, and the relationship between fully professionalized (or “non-membership”) advocacy organizations and traditional membership organizations. I have also studied community-based organizations’ efforts to build power for underrepresented citizens, charitable giving by firms in the health sector, and media coverage of protest. Additionally, my work has investigated the challenges inherent in promoting civic participation and empowered governance in a context of heightened inequalities, in the co-edited Democratizing Inequalities volume.

More recently, my research has investigated the politics of hydraulic fracturing, in a series of projects respectively with Bogdan Vasi and Colin Jerolmack. The first paper with Vasi, on the influence of the Gasland documentary on fracking politics, was published in the American Sociological Review and won article awards in 2016 from both the ASA Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements and the ASA Section on Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology. The paper with Jerolmack appears in the American Journal of Sociology.

My book, Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. The book won the Charles Tilly Award from the American Sociological Association section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements. Select media coverage related to the book: New York TimesTimeWashington Post (1), Washington Post (2), The AtlanticSan Francisco ChronicleMashableCSPAN BookTV.

To view other recent media coverage and op-eds related to my research, see the “media contributions” listed here.

Please see my personal homepage for links to articles and further information.


Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University



Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy. 2014. Cambridge University Press.
(Purchase: AmazonCambridge).

Democratizing Inequalities: Pitfalls and Unrealized Promises of the New Public Participation. 2015. NYU Press (edited with Caroline W. Lee and Michael McQuarrie).
(Purchase: AmazonNYU Press).


Walker, Edward T. and Lina M. Stepick. Forthcoming. “Valuing the Cause: A Theory of Authenticity in Social Movements.” Mobilization.

Jerolmack, Colin and Edward T. Walker. 2018. “Please in My Backyard: Quiet Mobilization in Support of Fracking in an Appalachian Community.” American Journal of Sociology 124(2): 479- 516.

Rafail, Patrick, Edward T. Walker, and John D. McCarthy. 2017. “Protests on the Front Page: Media Salience, Institutional Dynamics, and Coverage of Collective Action in the New York Times, 1960-1995.” Communication Research.

“‘No Fracking Way!’ Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013.” American Sociological Review 80(5): 934-59 (2015). (with Bogdan Vasi, John Johnson, and Hui Fen Tan).

“Signaling Responsibility, Deflecting Controversy: Strategic and Institutional Influences on the Charitable Giving of Corporate Foundations in the Health Sector.” Research in Political Sociology 21: 201-33 (2013).

“Putting a Face on the Issue: Corporate Stakeholder Mobilization in Professional Grassroots Lobbying Campaigns.” Business & Society 51(4): 619-59 (2012).

“Social Movements, Organizations, and Fields: A Decade of Theoretical Integration.” Contemporary Sociology 41(5): 576-587 (2012).

“Replacing Members with Managers? Mutualism among Membership and Non-Membership Advocacy Organizations in the U.S.”American Journal of Sociology 116(4): 1284-1337 (2011).  (with John D. McCarthy and Frank R. Baumgartner).

“Legitimacy, Strategy, and Resources in the Survival of Community-Based Organizations.” Social Problems 57(3): 315-340 (2010, lead article) (with John D. McCarthy).

“Privatizing Participation: Civic Change and the Organizational Dynamics of Grassroots Lobbying Firms.” American Sociological Review 74(1): 83-105 (2009).

“Confronting the State, the Corporation, and the Academy: The Influence of Institutional Targets on Social Movement Repertoires.” American Journal of Sociology 114(1): 35-76 (2008). (with Andrew W. Martin and John D. McCarthy).

“Contingent Pathways from Joiner to Activist: The Indirect Effect of Participation in Voluntary Associations on Civic Engagement.” Sociological Forum 23(1): 116-143 (2008).

Awards & Grants


Best Article Award, ASA Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section (2016)
Best Article Award, ASA Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology Section (2016)
Charles Tilly Award for Best Book, ASA Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section (2015)
Outstanding Article Award, Honorable mention, Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (2014)
Faculty Fellowship Award, UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy (2014)
UCLA Faculty Career Development Award (2013)


“Sources and Impacts of the Movement for Corporate Political Accountability.” National Science Foundation (2018).

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellowship in Health Policy Research, University of Michigan, 2009-11.

“The Influence of Professional Grassroots Lobbying Campaigns on Civic and Political Engagement.” National Science Foundation Sociology and Political Science (2009).

“Democratizing Inequalities: Participation without Parity?” ASA Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline Grant (2009). (with Caroline W. Lee and Michael McQuarrie).

“How Private Organizations Subsidize Public Participation: Explicating the Purposes and Practices of Grassroots Lobbying Firms.” University of Vermont College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Development Grant (2008).

“A Proposal to Chronicle More Than a Decade of Change in a Sample of Neighborhood and Community Based Organizations.” Community Action Research Initiative, American Sociological Association Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy (2007). (with John D. McCarthy).

_______. Neighborhood Funders Group and Pennsylvania State University.

“Learning from the Insurgents: The Institutionalization of Social Movements and the Growth of Grassroots Lobbying.” National Science Foundation (2005).

Graduate Students

Sociology: Matthew Fox, Molly Jacobs, Laura Loeb, Saskia Nauenberg, Hyeyoung Oh, Caitlin Patler, Christopher Rea, Michael Stambolis, Lina Stepick, Amy Zhou

Outside: Tarun Banerjee (SUNY Stony Brook), Mindy Chen (UCLA Luskin), Gina Garcia (UCLA GSEIS), Amy Quon (UCLA GSEIS)