‘Leaders’ Or Brokers? Positions and Influence in Social Movement Networks

Mario Diani

in Social Movements and Networks

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199251780
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599057 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

 ‘Leaders’ Or Brokers? Positions and Influence in Social Movement Networks

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Focusing on interorganizational networks, analysed with reference to the Italian environmental movement in the 1980s, this chapter challenges the assumption that social movements be necessarily decentralized and anti‐hierarchical. The position of different organizations within the environmental movement network is assessed in the light of two criteria , namely network centrality and brokerage. These measures reflect two different types of movement influence, based on the capacity to attract support for specific initiatives (centrality) and the capacity to connect sectors of a movement who hold different stances and worldviews (brokerage). These measures are differently correlated with external indicators of leadership like access to institutions and the media. The chapter also discusses the conditions under which centrality and brokerage positions tend to be occupied by the same actors or by different actors.

Keywords: brokerage; centrality; collective action; environmental movement; influence; interorganizational networks; Italy; leadership; social movements; social networks

Chapter.  8141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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