Michael Harrington Book Award

The Michael Harrington Book Award recognizes an outstanding book that demonstrates how scholarship can be used in the struggle to making the study of political science relevant to building a more democratic and egalitarian economic, social, and political order.

2022 Recipient:
Hahrie Han, Elizabeth McKenna, and Michelle Oyakawa, Prisms of the People: Power & Organizing in Twenty-First-Century America

2022 Committee:
Albena Azmanova (chair), Andrew Scerri, Kenton Worcester, James Simmons

Investigating the political logic of collective action, Han, McKenna, and Oyakawa have produced a work of empirically grounded social science with predictive ambition. The authors apply an original methodology in an analysis of six cases of effective collective action, to discern the components of organizational success. They establish that social movements’ success is neither a matter of numbers, financial resources, or ideological fervour, but rather of movements’ ability to act as “prisms of the people,” effectively channeling participation into creative political power. By showing how each of the six movements focused not only on asserting rights but on sustaining thick networks of obligation and responsibility, Prisms of the People demonstrates the importance of maintaining the power to choose between a palette of tactics when facing concerted opposition. The book is exemplary of collaborative authorship able to generate intellectually innovative and politically prescient analysis.

Past Recipients
2020: Rebecca Tarlau, Pennsylvania State University
Occupying Schools, Occupy Land: How the Landless Workers Movement Transformed Brazilian Education. Oxford University Press, 2019.

2019: Keisha Lindsay, University of Wisconsin-Madison
In a Classroom of Their Own: The Intersection of Race and Feminism in All-Black Male Schools. University of Illinois Press, 2018.

2018: Gordon Lafer, University of Oregon & Economic Policy Institute
The One-Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time. ILR Press, 2017.

2017: Peter Dauvergne, University of British Columbia
Environmentalism of the Rich. MIT Press, 2016.

2016: Marie Gottschalk, University of Pennsylvania
Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Additional Recipients »

Deadline for nominations: April 1, 2023

Nomination Instructions: All nominated books must have a 2022 publication date and cannot be an edited collection. Nominations must be made in writing to the committee chair by the publisher, and all five committee members must receive a copy of the book from the publisher at their mailing addresses listed by April 1st in order to be eligible for consideration.

Award Committee

Sarah Surak (chair) Salisbury University smsurak@salisbury.edu
Elizabeth McKenna Johns Hopkins University elizabethmck@gmail.com
James Simmons University of Wisconsin – OshKosh
simmons@uwosh.edu