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Lecture

SOCI 386 Lecture Notes - World Trade Organization, General Order


Department
Sociology (Arts)
Course Code
SOCI 386
Professor
Marcos Ancelovici

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Social Movements as Challenges to Authority (Snow)
- Snow says the definition proposed by McTT is too narrow- reduces SMs to the sphere of
contentious politics tied to the state
- This limits how we think about SMs- too hegemonic
- Snow argues for inclusion of collective action which targets religious groups or
corporations or social structures
Focal organizing concept:
- Emerging hegemony of the contentious politics conceptualization dismisses the other
perspectives proposed by Zald, Lofland, etc.
Institutional locus of SMs:
- Wants inclusion of all extra-institutional activity, not just activity tied to the state (i.e.
movements against IMF and WTO)
Kind and level of change:
- Inclusion of individual and personal change (consciousness-raising)
- i.e. Tumer argues that for a SM to start targeting the state, it first needs to penetrate
the hearts and minds of the people
Snow’s proposed definition:
- SMs as collective challenges to systems or structures of authority
- Collectivities acting with some degree of organization and continuity, primarily outside
of institutional or organizational channels for the purpose of challenging extant systems
of authority, or resisting change in such systems in the organization, society, culture, or
world order of which they are a part
- Must distinguish between institutional bitching (accepts general order but doesn’t do
anything about it) and challenges to authority
- Legitimacy and force of all institutional/organizational systems of authority flows from
actions and inactions of those to whom their regulations apply, as well as from the
anchored plausibility of underlying beliefs, claims, and narratives
- Structures and systems of authority coordinate patterns of behaviour and orientation-
these are the targets of SMs
- SMs often target multiple structures of authority- need to consider the reach of the
authority systems they challenge and the basis of commitment to authority (conjoint-
authority’s decisions are assumed to be beneficial, or disjoint- subordinate acts in
accord with the directives of the authority in exchange for some form of compensations
- There are layered authority relations in that people’s reaction to authority is not always
based on rational calculations
- Whether the challenge is direct or indirect (exit from group, foot dragging, civil
disobedience)
The benefit of expanding the definition is that it allows for a more in-depth, rigorous analysis of
SMs
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