Recently I was reading some research papers from political science field experiments. These papers described a process of social scientists empirically testing various campaign tactics to assess their relative cost-effectiveness. Yet these scientists aren’t campaigners. Their research does not have a political purpose. In fact, they work happily with either Democrats or Republicans.
This is fair enough, but I saw a gap. Here were people doing some serious field work in order to learn what campaigns should be doing. Yet their findings were esoteric and opaque, tucked away in political science journals only accessible with an annual subscription costing hundreds of dollars (enough to make plenty of doorknocking kits!). At the same time, there are hundreds of campaigners trying to make Australia a better place, using an array of tactics that sometimes work and sometimes don’t, with comparatively little reflection or analysis, and very little connection with the gradually expanding world of campaign field-testing.
Thus I decided to start Movements at the Station. I’ve previously blogged extensively on campaigning and activism at Scit Necessitas, and I’ll continue doing that here (although hopefully with more frequency and rigour. I’ll continue to read, review and summarise books that can inform and enhance contemporary efforts for change. In addition, I’ll start parsing and summarising findings that otherwise may not make it out of the ivory towers of political science journals. Hopefully, my combination of dropped-out Engineering student, wannabe writer, and active campaigner, is just the right thing to make this work.