Chapter

The Business of Social Movements

Frank Dobbin

in Passionate Politics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780226303987
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304007.003.0005
The Business of Social Movements

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This chapter provides a commentary that sketches the transformation of passionate action into calculative interest-driven action, not merely within social movements but across social realms. The aim is not to romanticize the past but to note a wider trend in which human action is increasingly framed as driven by interest and calculation, even in realms that were, not long ago, thought to operate on other principles. It argues that the ongoing substitution of interest for passion, in conceptions of human behavior, helped to generate the prevailing rationalist social-scientific paradigm. This change may also be leading social movements to depict themselves as oriented to rational calculation — as “managed” in the conventional sense, rather than as spontaneous, devotional, and charismatic.

Keywords: social action; human action; human behavior; rational calculation; passion

Chapter.  2985 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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