Areas of Expertise:
social movements | political mobilization | grassroots organizing | community organizing | astroturfing | lobbying
Edward Walker is an associate professor of sociology in the UCLA College and an expert on social movements and political lobbying by business interests. Walker’s primary area of work involves understanding how corporations have adopted grassroots organizing practices, as well as the ways that social movement groups and community organizations challenge companies, governments, and other institutions.
His 2014 book “Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy” (Cambridge University Press, 2014) shows how elite consultants have learned how to deploy new technologies to commercialize mass participation, a technique he refers to as “Astroturf” strategy. This strategy has been used in debates about minimum wage, fracking, real estate, Keystone XL and sharing economy businesses such as Uber and Airbnb.
Walker is also interested in the politics of health and health care, contention surrounding energy politics and the environment, and corporate social responsibility. He has consulted with community organizations and foundations, and has taken part in efforts to build bridges between university research and the needs of local communities.