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SOCI 386 Lecture Notes - Participatory Media, Wefs, Erving Goffman

Sociology (Arts)
Course Code
SOCI 386
Marcos Ancelovici

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Jan 28th
Political Process Theory (Tilly/Tarrow/McAdam)
- Focuses on how movements operate over time
- SMs as just another way of engaging in politics
- Stress indigeneous resources of aggreived groups (resources brought by actors at the
grassroots level)
- Mobilization builds on preexisting networks and organizations as well as previous waves
of protest
- Focuses on political institutional environment of SMs- i.e. when government opposes
labour, the cost of collective action is higher
- Structure of polity will be main factor explaining emergence and decline of SMs
- Core concept: political opportunity structure (POS)
Political Opportunity Structure (POS)
- Conditions that favour and constrain contentious collective action
- Definitions: consistent but not necessarily formal or permanent- dimensions of political
environment that provide incentives for collective action by affecting people’s
expectations for success or failure
- POS as a curvilinear phenomenon- if government is very open, there is no need to
engage in disruptive tactics because the government is usually willing to sit at the table
and negotiate- if it is too closed, people won’t engage in disruptive tactics because
they’d get killed
Static dimension: relatively stable- explains tactics
1) State strength (autonomy with respect to interest groups)
2) State strategy (negotiation vs exclusion)
3) Social cleavages (class cleavage)
Dynamic dimension- explains emergence and decline of SMs
1) Opening/closure of the polity
2) Alignments
3) Elite cohesion
4) Allies
5) State behaviour
6) Threats (i.e. people joining tuition protests b/c of Bill 78, which threatened freedom of
Framing- allows culture to enter into picture
- Goffman, David Snow
- How to turn passivity into action
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- Diagnosis- blame attribution, Prognosis- solution, Motivation- source of anger
- Symbolic manipulation (i.e. pro-life vs pro-choice)
- Socialization and discursive repertoire (i.e. in French repertoire, you don’t use the word
“race” or you’re racist, in US it is used all the time)
- Frame alignment- when frame used by group and frame accepted by society are the
same, it is more likely mobilization will occur
- Frame extension- i.e. redefining private as political, including more groups in the
- Frame bridging-2 existing frames, then you connect them
- Framing and coalition building
- Movement specific frames and master frames (rights frame was specific to civil rights
movement, then became a master frame used by a lot of movements)
How and when do people manage to act collectively?
- Preexisting organizations and networks (framing- grievances, identity, and networks)
- Resources
- Shift in the POS
Cycles of Protest (Tarrow)
- Temporality of protest
- Expanding opportunities
- Influence of movements on one another and on the POS
- Early risers/initiator movements- pay a higher cost and provide a toolkit for later
- Intensification and innovation
- Transformation/expansion of the repertoire of action
- Expansion of repertoire leads to diffusion of repertoire
- At the end of the cycle of protest, there is a decline- due to exhaustion or cooptation, or
certain actors engaging in violent protest thereby raising the cost of collective action for
the group as a whole
Critique of PPT
- Explains variation in space and time and talks about when and how SMs occur, but not
- Assumes movements always target the state and are contained within its natural
- Only really takes into account the US experience- may not be universal, may only work
in liberal democracies or US
- How do we measure the level of the opening and the change in expectations of actors?
- POS identified after the fact and potentially tautological (may confuse cause and effect)
- Too encompassing or too narrow
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