Allies in Action: The Communicative Experiences of People Who Challenge Social Injustice on Behalf of Others
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This study explores the lived experiences of people who act as allies in the interest of social justice. Interviews were conducted to investigate the meaning of the ally identity and the tactics allies use to interrupt stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination against others. Findings suggest that people who speak out on behalf of social justice from positions of relative power do so (a) out of identity concerns that emphasize moral obligations, (b) largely through authoritative and dialogic strategies that draw on their symbolic capital, and (c) in ways that reflect ideologies of culturally dominant groups. The study also describes tensions arising out of the contradictory nature of deploying social power against the system that confers it. Conventional definitions of “allies” that rely on static notions of power, finally, are challenged as too simplistic.