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This paper proposes a theoretical framework for understanding emergent disciplines as knowledge-focused social movement phenomena called New Knowledge Movements, or NKMs. The proposed theoretical framework is developed through a synthesis of new social movement theory and Frickel and Gross’s Scientific/Intellectual Movements (SIMs) model. In contrast to the SIMs model, this paper argues that many new disciplines emerge through contentious collective action on the part of political and intellectual outsiders rather than through the action of intellectual elites. The framework is demonstrated and tested through a narrative exploration based on secondary sources and scholar-activist tests of the emergence of two disciplines, women’s studies and Asian American studies, in the United States. Suggestions for future applications are provided.


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Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur (2009) Thinking Outside the Master's House: New Knowledge Movements and the Emergence of Academic Disciplines, Social Movement Studies, 8:1, 73-87, DOI: 10.1080/14742830802591176

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Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

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