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Chapter 18.docx

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McMaster University
Tina Fetner

Chapter 18- collective action, social movements and social change Collective action: what is it good for?  Collective action is an action that takes place in groups and diverges from the social norms of the situation.  Crowd collective action takes place when members of a group are face-to-face  Mass collective action is collective action in which close physical proximity is not necessary such as a letter writing campaign.  According to convergence theory, collective action happens when people with similar ideas and tendencies gather in the same place. This theory does not explain the inconsistency of group action—why collective action sometimes happens under such circumstances and other times does not.  According to contagion theory, collective action arises because of people’s tendency to conform to the behaviour of others. This theory downplays individual agency and does not explain the inconsistency of group action.  Emergent norm theory emphasizes the influence of leaders in promoting particular norms that members of a group then follow. This theory doesn’t explain why particular people become leaders or why some actions emerge as norms within a group and others don’t.  In order to explain who we are as individuals, we tend to talk about different groups of which we are a part. What makes each of us unique is the particular combination of groups with which we identify.  Static identity is an aspect of your identity (such as race) that doesn’t change and that determines at least one group to which you belong;  Dynamic identity is an aspect of your identity that is more fluid (such as working as a lifeguard for one summer) and that is determined by a group to which you belong. Social movements  A social movement is collective behaviour that is purposeful, organized, and institutionalized but not ritualized.  Alterative social movements seek limited social change and tend to be focused on a narrow group of people  Redemptive social movements are also focused on a narrow group of people, but they advocate for more radical change  Reformative social movements advocate for limited social change but seek to affect that change across an entire society  Revolutionary social movements seek to make radical change across an entire society.  The classical model of social movements proposes that social movements come about as a collective response to structural weaknesses in society that have a psychological effect on individuals.  Resource-mobilization theory recognizes the importance of political context and goals in the development of social movements but also emphasizes that social movements are unlikely to emerge without the necessary resources.  The political process model of social movements proposes that a social movement’s chances of developing are heavily influenced by three sets of conditions—expanding political opportunities, indigenous organizational strength, and certain shared cognitions among the movement’s proponents.  Social movements generally evolve through three stages—emergence (the social problem being addressed is first identified), coalescence (resources are mobilized and concrete action is taken to address the problem), and routinization (a formal
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