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From Social Movement to Moral MarketHow the Circuit Riders Sparked an IT Revolution and Created a Technology Market$
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Paul-Brian McInerney

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785129

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785129.001.0001

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The Circuit Riders Respond

The Circuit Riders Respond

Conventions of Coordination as Movements React to Markets

(p.133) 5 The Circuit Riders Respond
From Social Movement to Moral Market

Paul-Brian McInerney

Stanford University Press

This chapter shows how competition among groups shapes moral markets. It explains how the Circuit Riders engaged with the new dominant actor in nonprofit technology assistance, NPower. Through successive interactions, new conventions of coordination reduced the uncertainty of interacting in the nonprofit technology assistance market. In response to NPower’s growing dominance, some in the Circuit Rider movement mobilized around an alternative platform, free/open source software. The strategy was an attempt to reassert the founding values of the Circuit Rider movement as articulated in technology. Ultimately, the Circuit Riders had limited success in splitting the technology services market. This chapter illustrates how, once institutionalized, organizational forms and practices like social enterprise are difficult to challenge, but also how social movements can create alternative niches for consumers who share their social values. Because markets are not organized strictly on principles of economic rationality, such pressure can nudge them in socially desirable directions.

Keywords:   Social Movements, Conventions, Free/Open Source Software, Technology Movements, Moral Markets, Activism

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