Why Do Networks Matter? Rationalist and Structuralist Interpretations

Roger V. Gould

in Social Movements and Networks

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

Series: Comparative Politics

 Why Do Networks Matter? Rationalist and Structuralist Interpretations

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Evaluates the contribution of the relational perspective to our understanding of individual activism by contrasting it to traditional rational choice theory. The author exposes the limitations of rational choice reasoning by noting that future expectations are often difficult to calculate and challenging the equation of social ties with prospects of future interaction. Alternatively, he emphasizes the dynamic role of activism in transforming lives and, by doing so, changing the meaning and the impact of the ties in which prospective activists are involved. The chapter shows how discussions of networks and collective action can illuminate our understanding of social conflict and cooperation in general.

Keywords: activism; collective action; cooperation; expectations; interaction; participation; rational choice; social conflict; social networks

Chapter.  13220 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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