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Chapter 2

SOC1105 Textbook Notes - Chapter 2

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University of Ottawa
Liam Kilmurray

nd SOC1105 Chapter 2 Notes. Textbook: Social Movements, 2 Edition.Author: Suzanne Staggenborg. *Several major theoretical approaches have influenced the thinking of social movement scholars in Europe and North America. *Researchers tend to borrow from different theoretical approaches, and theorists try to synthesize them. *However, few scholars attempt to build universal theories that can be applied across time or space. -Importance of historical context and cultural differences. *Before 1980s: analytical approaches developed: -'new social movement theory' in Europe -'collective behavior' and 'resource mobilization' mostly from U.S. -But, many cross-national collaborations and influences between Europe and NorthAmerica. ***Collective Behavior Theory******************************************************* *Referred to as classical model of social movements. *Have also been labeled strain or breakdown theories -collective behavior comes from social disruption, grievances deeply felt, instead of standard part of political process. *Theorists have studied wide range of phenomena (eg. Crowds, riots, social movements, etc). *Study of crowds began in late 19 century. -Gustave Le Bon (European theorist) analyzed psychology to explain crowd behaviour. -Emphasized irrationality and and abnormality of crowds. But most collective behavior theorists disagree that crowds are irrational. *Collective behavior theorists do share several assumptions. -Collective behavior exists outside institutionalized structures. BUT some note linkages between non- and institutionalized structures. They are unstructured situations unbound by established norms. -Results from a structural/cultural breakdown or strain (eg. Natural disaster or dramatic event). -They assign an important role to the shared beliefs of participants in analyzing the emergence of social movements and other forms of collective behavior. -Most focus on psychological states of participants versus pre-existing organization/strategy. The Chicago SchoolApproach to Collective Behavior *Initiated in the 1920s by Robert Park and Ernest Burgess (1921). Symbolic Interactionism: Social psychological theory that focuses on how actors construct meanings through social interaction. *This perspective: Collective behavior develops when established systems of meaning and sources of information have broken down, forcing participants to construct new meanings to guide their behavior. -Social movements can create new organizational structures and new culture. -Emergent Norm: Shared view of reality that justifies and co-ordinates collective behavior. Examples: Environmentalist's view of ecological imbalance, Marxist's view of class struggle. *Not fixed. Systems of belief emerge and develop as social movement actors interact with one another, public, opponents, and authorities. -Emergent Norms: May develop in response to a precipitating event. Smelser's Theory of Collective Behavior *Neil Smelser presents a model consisting of six determinants. The model is 'value added' -conditions operate together, each condition adds value to the explanation. -Structural Conduciveness – permits or encourages certain types of collective behavior. Eg. Panics occur in money markets instead of financial systems. -Structural Strain – Such as real or anticipated deprivation, like economic deprivation. Combines with conduciveness. -Growth and spread of a generalized belief – For potential participants. Belief identifies source and nature of the strain, suggests possible responses. -Precipitating Factors – Things like a dramatic event. Gives a concrete target for action. Eg. Police brutality provoking race riot when there is conduciveness, strain, and generalized belief. -Mobilization for action – It must occur. Leadership is important. -Social Control – May act to prevent it, or limit its scope. Dependent on police, courts, press, community leaders, and other agents of social control. *'Value-added' model found to be useful by theorists in predicting action, but only to an extent. *Criticisms -Relies too heavily on structural strains to explain social movements. -No clear criteria exist for identifying strain, and once action occurs, it is always possible to find a strain. -Theory assumes society is normal, while strains are abnormal, when in fact they are fairly constant in most societies. Mass Society Theory *Collective behavior as an extreme response to social isolation. *Social stability is important. Common values maintained through various social institutions. *'Mass Society' – Few secondary groups (eg. Religious groups or community organizations) to bind people together and keep them attached to mainstream society. *Social changes (eg. Rapid industrialization, economic depressions, etc). People uprooted from normal associations, such as new immigrants to cities or unemployed workers. Result: People become isolated from social/political institutions. 'alienation and anxiety', and 'atomization' make people susceptible to recruitment by social movements such as the German Nazi movement. *Possible that alienated, fanatical, irrational individuals seek identity and sense of belonging when society is rapidly changing. *Criticism -Empirical research: Not the isolated individuals, but the opposite. -People who are involved (not isolated) most likely to join social movements. Relative Deprivation Theory *Based on observation that people often rebel as things are improving. -Done by those who are improving their positions, or are best off within an aggrieved group. -As conditions improve, expectations rise. But feeling of deprivation if rate of improvement doesn't match expectations. -Eg. Women's movement. Support increased despite access to education because of lack of high-paying occupations. -Deprivation is relative. *Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but since then, many strong critcisms. -Relative deprivation studies typically infer psychological states of relative deprivation from objective indicators such as unemployment rates. Studies found objective measures ineffective for predicting rebellions. Better predictors: organizational capacities and governmental sanctions. -Collective action is likely generated by factors such as resources and and organization. -Relative deprivation feelings may be generated just by participating in a movement (may not be a precondition). ***Resource Mobilization and Political Process Theories********************************** *1970s, NorthAmerican social movement research began to shift away from the concerns of collective behavior theory. -Resource mobilization and Political Process approaches. Criticisms of past theories: -1960s – collective behavior theory provided inadequate explanations for new waves of protest. -Mass Society theory – not supported by empirical studies. Resource mobilization theorists argue it is the connected, rather than the isolated, who engage in movements. -Strain theories – Cannot make predictions solely on amount of suffering or frustration. -These theorists instead believed social movements were a continuation of the political process, even though by disorderly means. Political phenomena VS Psychological phenomena (newer perspectives VS collective behavior). Resource Mobilization Theory *Early theorists: strains or grievances can almost always be found, but resources, organization, and opportunities for collective action are necessary for movement. *Resources: Seen as central to collective action in this approach. Many studies support link. -TangibleAssets: Funding -IntangibleAssets: Commitment of Participants *Many types of resources identified: -Moral Resources: Legitimacy. -Cultural Resource: Tactical repertoires. -Social/Organizational Resources: Networks, organizational structures. -Human Resources: Labour and experience of activists. -Material Resources: Money, office space. *Movement Entrepreneurs: They're important. Draw on public sentiments, increase demand for change. *Beneficiary Constituents: Those that benefit from movement. Often contribute. *Conscience Con
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