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Collective Action and Social Movements

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Collective Action and Social Movements
Collective Action and
Social Movements
Chapter Outline
 The Study of Collective Action and Social Movements
 Nonroutine Collective Action
 Social Movements
 Framing Discontent: A Symbolic Interactionist
Approach
 The Future of Social Movemetns
Collective Action
 When people act in unison to bring about or resist
social, political, and economic change.
 Routine collective actions follow established patterns
of behavior in existing social structures.
 Nonroutine collective actions take place when usual
conventions cease to guide social action and people
bypass established structures.
Social Movements
 Enduring collective attempts to change part or all of
the social order by means of rioting, petitioning,
striking, demonstrating, and establishing lobbies,
unions, and political parties.
Breakdown Theory: Functional Analysis
Three Factors:
 A group of people must be economically deprived or
socially rootless.
 Their norms must be strained or disrupted.
 They must lose the capacity to act rationally by
getting caught up in the madness of crowds.
Deprivation, Crowds, and the
Breakdown of Norms

Most pre-1970 sociologists would have said
lynchings were caused by:



Economic deprivation experienced by impoverished
and marginal members of the community.
The inherent irrationality of crowd behavior.
The serious violation of norms.
Deprivation and Poverty
 Absolute deprivation is a condition of extreme
poverty.
 Relative deprivation is an intolerable gap between
the social rewards people feel they deserve and the
social rewards they actually receive.
Polling Question

Civil disobedience is better to use than militant
activity for groups to get their point across for social
change.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Strongly agree
Agree somewhat
Unsure
Disagree somewhat
Assessing Breakdown Theory:
Lynchings

Deprivation

Research shows no association between fluctuations
in economic well-being and lynchings that took place
between the 1880s and the 1930s.
Assessing Breakdown Theory:
Lynchings
 Contagion is the process by which extreme passions
supposedly spread rapidly through a crowd like a
contagious disease.
 Many lynchings were neither spontaneous or
unorganized.
Assessing Breakdown Theory:
Lynchings
 Strain refers to breakdowns in traditional norms that
precede collective action.
 Lynching was a means by which black farm workers
were kept tied to the southern cotton industry after the
abolition of slavery threatened to disrupt the industry’s
traditional, captive labor supply.
Frequency of Lynching, United
States, 1882–1935
Social Disorganization

Example: Prison riots
–
–
–
–
Government officials make demands of
administrators without providing resources.
Corrections staff oppose the reforms.
Administrators take actions that inmates perceive as
unjust.
Inmates decide rioting will draw attention to the
unjust conditions.
Rumors
 Claims about the world that are not supported by
authenticated information.
 They are a form of communication that takes place
when people try to construct a meaningful
interpretation of an ambiguous situation.
 While rumor transmission is a form of collective
action, it typically intensifies just before and during
riots.
The Social Determinants
of Rumors
Polling Question

Have you ever participated in an organized
protest?
a.
b.
Yes
No
Solidarity Theory: Conflict
Analysis
 Holds that social movements are social organizations
that emerge when potential members:
 mobilize resources
 take advantage of new political opportunities
 avoid high levels of social control by authorities.
Resource Mobilization
 Refers to the process by which social movements
crystallize due to increasing organizational, material,
and other resources of movement members.
Political Opportunities
 Political opportunities for collective action and social
movement growth occur during election campaigns,
when influential allies offer insurgents support, when
ruling political alignments become unstable, and
when elite groups become divided and conflict with
one another.
Social Control
 Refers to the means by which authorities seek to
contain collective action, including co-optation,
concessions, and coercion.
Union Density
 The number of union members in a given location and
time as a percentage of nonfarm workers.
 It measures the organizational power of unions.
Strikes and Resource
Mobilization
 The industrial working class has been weakened by
globalization and employer hostility to unions
 Many American employers began to contest
unionization elections legally, running anti-union
campaigns
 Decline in organizational resources available to
workers matched an increase in anti-union resources
mobilized by employers
Strikes and Resource
Mobilization, cont.
 Social organization usually facilitates collective action
and less social organization means less protests
 Strikes have been more frequent during economic
booms and less frequent during economic busts
Frequency of Strikes with
1000+ Workers
Strikes and Political
Opportunities
 Government action has limited opportunities for
union growth
 Even in good times, workers avoid striking because the
government has so weakened the opportunity, they are
unable to use the strike as a means of improving their
wages and benefits
Unemployment and
Frequency of Big Strikes, 1948–2004
Frame Alignment
 The process by which social-movement leaders make
their activities, ideas, and goals congruent with the
interests, beliefs, and values of potential new recruits
to their movement - or fail to do so.
Encouraging Frame Alignment
Social-movement leaders reach out to organizations
that contain people who are sympathetic to the
cause.
2. Movement activists stress popular values that have
not been prominent in the thinking of potential
recruits.
3. Social movements can stretch their objectives to win
recruits who aren’t initially sympathetic to their
aims.
1.
How Social Factors Influence Collective
Action and Social Movements
 INSERT CONCEPT SUMMARY 14.1 HERE (PG. 353)
New Social Movements
 New movements do not promote the rights of specific
groups but of humanity as a whole, for peace, security,
and a clean environment
 Attract disproportionately large number of highly
educated, relatively well-to-do people from the social,
educational, and cultural fields
 Increased the scope of protest beyond the national
level to global efforts
1. Forms of collective action that are usually
nonviolent and follow established patterns of
behavior in bureaucratic social structures are
called:
a. social movements
b. routine
c. petition drives
d. lobby formation
e. party formation
Answer: b
 Forms of collective action that are usually nonviolent
and follow established patterns of behavior in
bureaucratic social structures are called routine.
2. According to breakdown theory, collective action
and social movements result from:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
economic deprivation
the irrationality of crowd behavior
instigation on the part of political leaders
all of these choices
economic deprivation and the irrationality of crowd
behavior
Answer: e
 According to breakdown theory, collective action and
social movements result from economic deprivation
and the irrationality of crowd behavior.
3. What flaws have sociologists uncovered in
breakdown theory?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Elected leaders generally do not play a part in mob
actions.
Levels of deprivation are not commonly associated
with the frequency or intensity of outbursts of
collective action.
Even nonroutine collective action is usually
structured.
b. and c. only
Answer: d
 Sociologists uncovered the following flaws in
breakdown theory:
 Levels of deprivation are not commonly associated
with the frequency or intensity of outbursts of
collective action.
 Even nonroutine collective action is usually
structured.
4. According to solidarity theory, which of the
following factors is not among those that influence
collective action and the emergence of social
movements?
a.
b.
c.
d.
social breakdown
resource mobilization
political opportunity
social control
Answer: a
 According to solidarity theory, social breakdown is
not among the factors that influence collective action
and the emergence of social movements.
5. Frame alignment is the process by which
individual interests, beliefs, and values either
become congruent with the activities, ideas, and
goals of the movement or fail to do so.
a.
b.
True
False
Answer: a
 Frame alignment is the process by which
individual interests, beliefs, and values either
become congruent with the activities, ideas, and
goals of the movement or fail to do so.
6. Examples of old and new social movements are,
respectively:
a.
the labor movement and peasant movements
b.
peasant movements and the environmental
movement
c.
the women’s movement and the
environmental movement
d.
the environmental movement and the
women’s movement
Answer: b
 Examples of old and new social movements are,
respectively peasant movements and the
environmental movement.
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