Movement in Context: Thick Networks and Japanese Environmental Protest

Jeffrey Broadbent

in Social Movements and Networks

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

Series: Comparative Politics

 Movement in Context: Thick Networks and Japanese Environmental Protest

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Presents a case for a network version of the concept of political opportunity structure, focusing on environmental movement activity in eight communities in Japan. Embeddedness in specific networks shapes political action much more strongly in densely knit societies like Japan than in Western, individualistic societies; in Japan, networks operate mostly in terms of block recruitment rather than individual recruitment, and this holds for both movements and local elites. In particular, vertical ties between elites and citizen strongly shape local political opportunities: it is the presence of ‘breakaway bosses’ (i.e. local leaders who take the protesters’ side) to prove the strongest predictor of success for collective action. The chapter also presents a distinctive theoretical framework, Integrative Structurational Analysis, to link structure and agency.

Keywords: agency; block recruitment; collective action; environmental movement; Japan; local elites; political opportunity structure; social movements; structure

Chapter.  10805 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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