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Social Movements and Culture

Hank Johnston
Bert Klandermans
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Social Movements and Culture
    Book Description:

    Reflecting the recent surge of interest in culture, this volume brings together top researchers in the field of social movements whose work represents the major approaches to movement analysis from a cultural perspective. The contributors address such issues as approaches to culture; how movements are affected by the culture of the larger society in which they act; and the internal cultures of these movements. Contributors include Michael Billig, Rick Fantasia, Gary Alan Fine, William A. Gamson, Eric Hirsch, Jane Jenson, John Lofland, Alberto Melucci, Ann Swidler, Verta Taylor, and Nancy Whittier.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8638-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Part I Conceptions of Culture in Social Movement Analysis

    • Chapter 1 The Cultural Analysis of Social Movements
      (pp. 3-24)
      Hank Johnston and Bert Klandermans

      The pendulum of Kuhn’s normal science now seems to swing toward culture, gathering speed in what may well be a paradigmatic shift. Mueller (1992) in her introductory essay toFrontiers in Social Movement Theory—in more than one sense the predecessor of this volume—refers to a broader paradigm, more sensitive to cultural factors, that is developing. In the collection she and Morris edited (Morris and Mueller 1992), culture as such is not yet central stage, but by placing culture at the center of our concerns the current volume clearly embraces and labels a theoretical trend that was already emerging...

    • Chapter 2 Cultural Power and Social Movements
      (pp. 25-40)
      Ann Swidler

      Culture has always been important for the kinds of processes students of social movements study. But as culture moves to the forefront of social movement research, it is important to address directly the theories, methods, and assumptions different approaches to the sociology of culture carry with them.

      I begin by reviewing the basic theoretical approaches in the sociology of culture and go on to suggest that traditional Weberian approaches, which focus on powerful, internalized beliefs and values held by individual actors (what I call culture from the “inside out”) may ultimately provide less explanatory leverage than newer approaches that see...

    • Chapter 3 The Process of Collective Identity
      (pp. 41-63)
      Alberto Melucci

      Interest in cultural analysis has grown in the past two decades together with an extraordinary cultural transformation of planetary society. We are witnessing, with mixed feelings of amazement and fear, the impressive development of communication technologies, the creation of a world media system, the breakdown of historical political cleavages, the impact of cultural differences on national societies and at the world scale. Never before have human cultures been exposed to such a massive reciprocal confrontation, and never has the cultural dimension of human action been directly addressed as the core resource for production and consumption. It is not surprising therefore...

    • Chapter 4 Rhetorical Psychology, Ideological Thinking, and Imagining Nationhood
      (pp. 64-82)
      Michael Billig

      Alberto Melucci, in his bookNomads of the Present,pointed to a gap in current ways of studying social movements. According to Melucci, structuralist theories try to explain collective protest by discovering the strains in social systems. In so doing, the structuralist approach fails to describe how social movements are established. On the other hand, resource mobilization theorists devote their attention to examining how collective action is accomplished. In their turn, such theorists overlook the meaning of collective action for the participants. Melucci argues that both approaches ignore how social movements produce new collective identities and cognitive interpretations. He claims...

  5. Part II Cultural Processes in Mobilization

    • Chapter 5 Constructing Social Protest
      (pp. 85-106)
      William A. Gamson

      Movement activists are media junkies. “Advocates of causes,” Edelman reminds us, “are an avid audience for the political spectacle” (1988: 6). Along with other political actors, they eagerly monitor public discourse, using it along with other resources to construct meaning on issues they care about. Media discourse provides them with “weekly, daily, sometimes hourly triumphs and defeats, grounds for hope and for fear, a potpourri of happenings that mark trends and aberrations, some of them historic.”

      The more sophisticated among them recognize that many in their constituency—the potential challengers whom they would like to reach—are different from them....

    • Chapter 6 What’s in a Name? Nationalist Movements and Public Discours
      (pp. 107-126)
      Jane Jenson

      A notable theme of public discourse in Canada is the naming of nations. Denominating nations involves much more than the ethnic labeling familiar in polyethnic states like the United States, where Italian-Americans, Asian-Americans, and so on seek political recognition.¹ As in other multinational states, much of Canadian politics in the past three decades has involved competing assertions of nationhood, some of which reject the very label “Canadian.”

      As Benedict Anderson tells us, nations are “imagined communities” that claim sovereignty and recognize a limited number of people as members (1991: 6-7). They identify an “us,” which can be distinguished from the...

    • Chapter 7 Public Narration and Group Culture: Discerning Discourse in Social Movements
      (pp. 127-143)
      Gary Alan Fine

      Culture is a concept that, like mushrooms on a dewy summer morning, is now discovered everywhere. Suddenly it has emerged through the sociological underbrush, a reality to which this volume’s theme pays heed. Social movements are, in several senses, cultural movements, underpinned by discursive practices.

      The concept of culture is admittedly broad, useful both for macro- and microanalyses of social movements. From a “macro” perspective on culture, sociologists recognize that a social movement is not only politically and socially situated, but culturally situated as well (Eder 1982; Horowitz 1977; Marx and Holzner 1975). The proposals, tactics, and organization of a...

    • Chapter 8 Culture in Rebellion: The Appropriation and Transformation of theVeil in the Algerian Revolution
      (pp. 144-160)
      Rick Fantasia and Eric L. Hirsch

      Theorists recently have made strides in answering key questions about social movement dynamics—why they begin when they do, why people join them, how they are organized, why they succeed or fail—by taking account of the subjective dimension of movement mobilization (Ferree and Miller 1985; Friedman and McAdam 1992; Gamson 1992a; Johnston 1991; Klandermans 1992; Melucci 1989; Morris 1984; Snow et al. 1986; Snow and Benford 1992; Tarrow 1992a; Taylor and Whittier 1992). The attention to culture and the subjective experience of movement participation fills a theoretical need resulting from the influence of resource mobilization theory, a perspective that...

  6. Part III Cultural Analysis of Social Movements

    • Chapter 9 Analytical Approaches to Social Movement Culture: The Culture of the Women’s Movement
      (pp. 163-187)
      Verta Taylor and Nancy Whittier

      All social movements, to varying degrees, produce culture. Scholars who have studied the processes that make it possible for individuals and groups to come together to mount a concerted campaign for social change recognize that those who challenge the status quo face a formidable task. Most analysts agree that the mobilization of protest is facilitated by a group’s ability to develop and maintain a set of beliefs and loyalties that contradict those of dominant groups. Scholars have referred to the spheres of cultural autonomy necessary to the rise of social movements as “cultures of solidarity” (Fantasia 1988), “social movement communities”...

    • Chapter 10 Charting Degrees of Movement Culture: Tasks of the Cultural Cartographer
      (pp. 188-216)
      John Lofland

      In this chapter I will discuss topics and questions important to address in the task of charting the structure of social movement culture in terms of degree or extent. The phrase “charting the structure” is the earmark of what I will discuss—and therefore of what I will not discuss. As usefully mapped by Wuthnow and Witten, sociological studies of culture vary along the two major dimensions of (1) conceiving culture as an “implicit feature of social life” as opposed to viewing it as an “explicit social construction” and (2) focus on “social contexts in which culture is produced” (i.e.,...

    • Chapter 11 A Methodology for Frame Analysis: From Discourse to Cognitive Schemata
      (pp. 217-246)
      Hank Johnston

      In social movement analysis, the framing perspective has been at the forefront of renewed interest in cultural and ideational processes. But several persistent problems in frame analysis remain: how to do it systematically, for example, and how to verify the content and relationships between the concepts within frames that have been identified. This chapter is a methodological essay— both practical and conceptual—that introduces one way by which frames can be studied. It specifies certain procedures that allow the analyst to demonstrate the relations between concepts, knowledge, and experience that constitutute social movement frames, and to speak more convincingly about...

  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-268)
  8. Contributors
    (pp. 269-272)
  9. Subject Index
    (pp. 273-281)