Theorizing the Emergence of Activism

Kathleen M. Blee

in Democracy in the Making

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199842766
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951161 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Culture and Politics

Theorizing the Emergence of Activism

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  • Social Movements and Social Change


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This chapter introduces a conceptual framework for tracing trajectories of action over time that draws on four scholarly literatures. From studies of workplace task teams in organizational psychology, it specifies how group-level phenomena matter in action trajectories. Concepts from cultural sociology are used to discern processes of meaning-making in groups. From path dependency theories, it includes ideas about the sequencing of action and from life course theories a way to identify turning points in action sequences. The chapter concludes by using this framework to analyze changes over time in an animal rights group.

Keywords: task team; path dependency; sequence; turning point; collective intelligene; culture; meaning-making; life course analysis; animal rights

Chapter.  10780 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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