I study the relationship between social movements and institutional politics. My dissertation, “Renegotiating Movement-Party Alignments: How Movements Shape and Respond to Presidential Elections” analyzes the conditions under which social movements can exert influence over the electoral agenda and the repercussions of political alignments for movements and political parties. I use content analysis of electoral, party, and movement documents to conduct an in-depth case study of movement engagement in and responses to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I first explore two major electoral cleavages – race and sexuality – and explain how competing social movements influenced the construction of party ideology and platforms. In an age of political polarization, social movements typically form alignments with a single political party, so I employ comparative methods to assess the relative influence of movements. I compare movements of the political left and right (Black Lives Matter and white nationalism; LGBT Rights and the Christian Right) and contrast their success in shaping the party agendas. I then examine post-electoral mobilization, explaining how the electoral outcome generated a new movement organization – Indivisible. I conclude that movement characteristics and political context shape movements’ differential levels of electoral incorporation and reactions to electoral outcomes. In addition, I find that the repercussions of parties’ strategic inclusion or exclusion of movement claims extend well beyond the electoral cycle. My published work includes an organizational case study examining the emergence of the Indivisible movement and a chapter on social movement coalitions.


Brooker, Megan E. 2018. “Indivisible: Invigorating and Redirecting the Grassroots.” Pp. 162-184 in The Resistance: The Dawn of the Anti-Trump Opposition Movement, edited by David S. Meyer and Sidney Tarrow. Oxford University Press.

*Recipient of the 2018 Robin M. Williams Jr. Paper Competition, UC Irvine Department of Sociology

Brooker, Megan E. and David S. Meyer. 2018. “Coalitions and the Organization of Collective Action.” Pp. 252-268 in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly J. McCammon. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Under Review and In Progress

Brooker, Megan E. “Iraq Veterans Against the War in the Obama Era: How Political Allies Stimulate Organizational Decline.” Revise and resubmit.

Brooker, Megan E. “Obscured Continuity: How Activist Spillover Links Occupy to Other Movements.” In progress.

Brooker, Megan E. “From Dog Whistles to Bullhorns: Race, Movements, and the 2016 Presidential Election.” In progress.

Brooker, Megan E. “LGBT Rights & the Boundaries of Issue Ownership in the 2016 Presidential Election.” In progress.

Brooker, Megan E. and David S. Meyer, “Raising and Sustaining Public Attention: Tea Party and Occupy Protest Mobilization and Agenda Setting.” In progress.


Selected Fellowships & Grants

  • Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)
  • Social Science Merit Fellowship, UC Irvine School of Social Sciences
  • Brython Davis Fellowship, UC Irvine Graduate Division
  • Kugelman Research Fellowship, UC Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding
  • Summer Research Fellowship, UC Irvine Center for the Study of Democracy
  • Pedagogical Fellowship, UC Irvine Division of Teaching Excellence & Innovation
  • Associate Dean’s Fellowship, UC Irvine School of Social Sciences
  • Dean’s Recruitment Fellowship, UC Irvine Assistant Dean for Graduate Affairs
  • William F. Podlich Fellowship, UC Irvine Center for the Study of Democracy