Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Munson studies how social movements grow and impact their governments and societies. One side of his research examines conservative political organizing in the United States, particularly around the abortion issue. The other side of his research examines groups that turn to violence and terrorism, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere in the Islamic world. Munson has participated in a variety of government workshops, think tank initiatives, and advisory boards in recent years on the issue of terrorism. He also serves on the executive board of a local research consortium that helps the local community make use of social science data.
Suggests ways in which current models of social movement mobilization need to be modified in order to account for the spectacular rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Discusses how the growth of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which seek to convince pregnant women to carry their pregnancies to term, are altering the pro-life movement and co-opting many of the most salient arguments made by pro-choice activists.
Shows how a chief source of ideological radicalization in many terrorist groups are elites in expatriate communities who return to their countries of origin to participate in political conflict.
Introduces evidence, drawn primarily from the abortion debate, that American college campuses are platforms for more conservative organizing than many people realize. Develops the concept of “turning points” to explain why colleges are so important to social movement organizing.
Provides a model for understanding how individual people are drawn into the abortion debate. Shows that pre-existing beliefs about abortion are not nearly as important as social connections in determining who becomes an activist.
Describes how social scientists and journalists use the term ‘terrorism’ differently, and proposes a definition that suits both.