Date of Submission

Fall 12-14-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)


Conflict Management

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Amanda Reinke

Committee Member

Darina Lepadatu

Committee Member

Kenneth Williamson

Committee Member

Jason Mueller


Scholars and practitioners often have different understandings and interpretations of allyship in the social movement context. There are conflicting expectations of allies, making it difficult to clearly identify their role and relationship to the overall movement and membership. The result can be confusion, unmet expectations, and disappointment. This research addresses this challenge by examining allyship as a means of solidarity in racial justice social movements. To achieve this, the study utilized multiple methods, including (a) a synthesis analysis of literature on the subject; (b) semi-structured interviews with activists, allies, and scholar-practitioners involved in racial justice causes ranging from Black Lives Matter to immigration; and (c) observations at social movement ally events. The findings highlight the importance of mutual understanding, commitment, and adaptable application of allyship in concept and practice. Successful collaboration between ingroup members and allies is underpinned by fundamental principles rooted in the group’s mission. However, allyship, just like social movements themselves, is dynamic and requires continuous re-evaluation and interconnectedness between understanding and approaches of different participants that transcend racial lines. Based on these findings, I offer the Millslowe Allyship Ecosystem Model as a practical tool for practitioners to examine and measure the effectiveness and scale of allyship practices within their movement. By bridging the gap between academic and activist perspectives on allyship, this work fosters greater understanding, solidarity, and collaboration among various stakeholders working towards common goals of social change.