Journal Article

The Cultural Dimension of Social Movements: A Theoretical Reassessment and Literature Review*

Stephen Hart

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 57, issue 1, pages 87-100
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1069-4404
e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712006
The Cultural Dimension of Social Movements: A Theoretical Reassessment and Literature Review*

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This article examines theoretical issues about movement culture through an assessment of the recent cultural turn in social movement research. Various strands of work are discussed: Fantasia's Cultures of Solidarity; efforts to revise resource mobilization theory, including the collection Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, and work on framing; and Ginsburg's Contested Lives. This work is helpful in focusing cultural analysis on practical, interactive contexts and the process of culture-making, but tends to use regrettably diffuse and excessively social-psychological conceptions of culture. It also usually views culture too voluntaristically, pays insufficient attention to the role of preexisting cultural codes and the connections between movement culture and other forms of public discourse, and neglects the role of religion in American political culture. The article ends with a suggested agenda for research on movement culture.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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