Frontiers in Social Movement Theory

Edited by Aldon D. Morris and Carol McClurg Mueller

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Social protest movements such as the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement mobilize and sustain themselves in ways that have long been of interest to social scientists. In this book some of the most distinguished scholars in the area of collective action present new theories about this process, fashioning a rich and conceptually sophisticated social psychology of social movements that goes beyond theories currently in use.

The book includes sometimes competing, sometimes complementary paradigms by theorists in resource mobilization, conflict, feminism, and collective action and by social psychologists and comparativists. These authors view the social movement actor from a more sociological perspective than do adherents of rational choice theory, and they analyze ways in which structural and cultural determinants influence the actor and generate or inhibit collective action and social change. The authors state that the collective identities and political consciousness of social movement actors are significantly shaped by their race, ethnicity, class, gender, or religion. Social structure--with its disparities in resources and opportunities--helps determine the nature of grievances, resources, and levels of organization. The book not only distinguishes the mobilization processes of consensus movements from those of conflict movements but also helps to explain the linkages between social movements, the state, and societal changes.

Aldon D. Morris is professor of sociology at Northwestern University. Carol McClurg Mueller is associate professor of sociology at Arizona State University.

"Morris tells their stories in an able and engaging manner, mixing individual psychoanalysis with social and political snippets to give a fine feeling for the individuals and their motivations, the times in which they lived and the preconceptions under which they operated."—Adrian Barnett, New Scientist

"The essays collected in this volume provide privileged access to the work of pioneer contributors to the study of social movements."—Lewis A. Coser, State University of New York, Stony Brook

"Represents the cutting edge of social movement theory. . . . Most of the volume consists of 13 theoretical essays written by some of the best-known analysts in the field. . . . The essays are not case studies, but the authors are all active researchers, drawing on their own and others' empirical work. . . . The collection is of greatest interest to faculty and graduate-student researchers, but is also a valuable resource for upper-division undergraduates."—Choice

ISBN: 9780300054866
Publication Date: August 26, 1992
400 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4