Detailed Reading List

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Sociology 924 Social Movements Theory & Research (Fall 2003, amended fall 2006)
Detailed Reading List
NOTE: This list, as long as it is, cannot be considered a comprehensive review of the literature. I have much more extensive bibliographies which I can share with people who wish to pursue particular topics in more depth. I placed *’s next to some “required” items, but details about “required” reading will be given in class. The first section lists articles from a variety of sources, by topic. The second lists the contents of some of the edited collections. (Others are posted on my web page.)

  1. Social Movements : An Introduction. Donatella Della Porta and Mario Diani. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. 1999. I'm using this book this term as a replacement for the Tarrow book, to provide a current overview of movement theory.

    1. 1. The Study of Social Movements: Collective Behaviors, Rational Actions, Protests, and New Conflicts. Sketch of theoretical perspectives and helpful discussion of definition of SM. Their characterization of theories differs from some others'. Could be useful to compare different writers' ways of describing the field. They equate CB with meaning & values, RM with rational action, PP with politics, and NSM with critique of Marxism and new formations.

    2. 2. Social Movements and Structural Change. Opens with environmental movement, problem it poses for understanding interest bases of movements. Used as a starting point for discussion of theories of structure and action with focus on understanding of class conflict and issues of new middle class and then of political structures & notions of citizenship and public/private. Tied to issues of identity and problematization of identity.

    3. 3. The Symbolic Dimension of Collective Action. Postmaterialism, cognitive praxis, interpretive frames. Discussion of frame theory as cognitive praxis.

    4. 4. Collective Action and Identity. Identity as process whereby actors are recognized as part of broader groupings; give meaning to experiences. Identities not just preconditions, they evolve through action. Discussion of processes of identity formation.

    5. 5. Movement Networks. Individual participation and networks, organizational memberships, interorganizational networks. Networks as both constraints on action and products of action.

    6. 6. Social Movements and Organizational Form. Begins with New Left debates about organization, and then discusses models of organization. Discussion of changes in org forms, and then issues of org form and goals, functionality.

    7. 7. Forms, Repertoires and Cycles of Protest. Defines protest as unconventional, seeking influence through indirect persuasion mediated by mass media. "Logics" of protest: numbers, damage, witness. Strategic options, cycles.

    8. 8. The Political Context of Social Movements. Detailed discussion of issues in comparative politics and how these can affect movements. Specific discussion of relation of left parties to protest.

    9. 9. Social Movements: What Consequences? Discussion of the problem of assessing consequences when there are multiple actors. Policy & democracy outcomes. Cross-national diffusion.

See the table of contents for Snow et al The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements at the end of this document. This 2004 publication appears to be a state of the art overview of the research literature, with 700 pages and 29 articles by top scholars.

  1. General Overviews. You should make a point of reading a few of these articles early in the term so that you can create a mental map of the relation of the various topics to each other. The introductions in many of the collections also provide theoretical overviews; they are not listed here.

    1. Sidney Tarrow Power in Movement. 1998 edition. This short book is a comprehensive literature review and theoretical synthesis with an emphasis on “cycles of protest” and their integration with a political process model. Students found it somewhat meandering, but it integrates a great many different perspectives. Chapter list: Introduction; 1. Contentious politics and social movements: Part I. The Birth of the Modern Social Movement: 2. Modular collective action; 3. Print and association; 4. Statebuilding and social movements; Part II. From Contention to Social Movements: 5. Political opportunities and constraints; 6. The repertoire of contention; 7. Framing contention; 8. Mobilising structures and contentious politics; Part III. The Dynamics of Movement: 9. Cycles of contention; 10. Struggling to reform; 11. Transnational contention/conclusion: the future of social movements.

    2. McAdam, Doug, John D. McCarthy and Mayer N. Zald. 1988. "Social Movements." in Neil Smelser, ed, Handbook of Sociology. Micro and macro levels, a good comprehensive review of what was known through the mid-1980s.

    3. J. Craig Jenkins. "Resource Mobilization Theory and the Study of Social Movements." Annual Review of Sociology 9 (1983): 527-53. Definitive on RM through the early 1980s.

    4. Gary T. Marx and James L. Wood. "Strands of Theory and Research in Collective Behavior." Annual Review of Sociology 1975. Still stands as the definitive review of research through the early 1970s. Excellent theoretical organization, empirical synthesis.

    5. David A. Snow and Pamela E. Oliver. "Social Movements and Collective Behavior: Social Psychological Dimensions and Considerations." In Karen Cook, Gary Fine, and James House, eds., Sociological Perspectives on Social Psychology. Allyn and Bacon. A comprehensive review of social psychological issues, including networks, personality, socialization, instrumentalism, and constructionism. 1994.

    6. John Lofland. Social Movement Organizations: Guide to Research on Insurgent Realities. Aldine De Gruyter. 1996. A research-oriented review of all possible questions you might ask about social movement organizations. An odd book, but can be very helpful when you are thinking about formulating a research problem.

    7. McAdam, Doug; Tarrow, Sidney; Tilly, Charles To Map Contentious Politics. Mobilization; 1996, 1, 1, Mar, 17-34. Overview of a major collective research program; where political process is today.

    8. Crist, John T.; McCarthy, John D."If I Had a Hammer": The Changing Methodological Repertoire of Collective Behavior and Social Movements Research. Mobilization; 1996, 1, 1, Mar, 87-102. A review of 150+ articles published before and after 1970.

    9. Gary T. Marx, Douglas McAdam. Collective Behavior and Social Movements : Process and Structure (Prentice Hall Foundations of Modern Sociology) Paperback - 208 pages (July 1993). Prentice Hall College Div. An undergraduate-level text by respected authors; provides a good theoretical overview for those who lack background.

    10. McAdam, D. (1996). Conceptual Origins, Current Problems, Future Directions. CP: 23-40. Standard review of 3 major processes: political opportunities, mobilizing structures, framing processes. Discursive essay, sketches factors relevant to movements and summarizes relevance to comparative studies. + Introduction: Opportunities, Mobilizing Structure, and Framing Processes -- Toward a Synthetic, Comaprative Perspective on Social Movements. CP: 1-20.

  1. Aldon Morris Origins of the Civil Rights Movement. A qualitative account which focuses on indigenous mobilization. Although critical of the “external resources” arguments, Morris is definitely within the resource mobilization tradition. His theoretical discussions and detailed qualitative analyses of resources and mobilization have stood the test of time.

  1. McAdam Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency. The “political process” model is still dominant, and the quantitative approach is one of the standard methodologies. Reading a second book about the civil rights movement will provide the class with a common empirical basis as we read theory and consider other movements.

  1. Dynamics of Contention: Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, Charles Tilly. Overall: broad, synthetic approach. Probably better to synthesize after you've seen the pieces. This was "the" book to discuss last year, and it has some useful material, but is too ill-formed to work as a coherent discussion. Probably still worth reading. Part 1: What's the Problem? (Meta-theoretical meta-methodological discussions. Critique of the past, movement to the future.) Ch 1. What are they shouting about? Overview. Definitions. Contained vs transgressive contention (a distinction I don't buy). From polity model to dynamics of contention. Summary of "Classic social movement agenda". Discussions of intellectual resources (theoretical traditions) and move to relational perspective. Discussion of causal mechanisms. Mechanisms & processes as the keys. Ch2. Lineaments of contention. Mobilization of people into movements. Towards a dynamic mobilization model. Social construction of actors over time. Ch 3. Comparisons, Mechanisms, and Episodes. State capacity and democracy. Discussion of how to make comparisons. Part 2: Tentative Solutions. Ch4. Mobilization in Comparative Perspective. Not testing general theory: looking for mechanisms. Detailed case studies of Mau Mau in Kenya, Yellow revolution in Philippines. Focus on mechanisms, not general principles. Ch 5. Contentious Action. Who makes claims & why? Who do they say they are? What forms do their claims making take? South Asian examples, again focus on mechanisms. Ch 6. Transofrmations of Contention. Trajectories. Different possibilities, looking for mechanisms that go different ways. Part 3. Applications and Conclusions. Ch 7. Revolutionary Trajectories. Ch 8. Nationalism, National Disintegration, and Contention. Nationalism as a form of contention. Language, ethnicity. Statebuilding. Italy. Soviet Union. Ch 9. Contentious Democratization. Switzerland & Mexico as cases. Ch 10. Conclusions. Away from one actor in west to relational, international. Methodological implications pp 312-3. Three robust processes: actor constitution, polarization, scale shift.


  1. Mobilization Studies. These are empirical studies of the mobilization process; they demonstrate the integration of instrumentalist, constructionist, and social network factors in the actual process of mobilization.

    1. Dirk Oegema and Bert Klandermans. (1994). “Why Social Movement Sympathizers Don't Participate: Erosion and Nonconversion of Support.” American Sociological Review 59(5): 703-722. MS 174-189. Trading the factors predicting both loss of support and failure of supporters to act during a peace movement petition campaign in the Netherlands.

    2. Karl-Dieter Opp and Wolfgang Roehl. “Repression, Micromobilization, and Political Protest.” MS 190-206. Social Forces 69: 521-547. 1990.

    3. Pamela Oliver. "If You Don't Do It, Nobody Else Will: Active and Token Contributors to Local Collective Action." American Sociological Review, Volume 49, Number 5, pages 601-610. (1984) In some contexts, activists participate because of their pessimism about others' participation; linked to production function theory. MS 207-215.

    4. Bert Klandermans. "Mobilization and Participation." ASR 49 (Oct 1984):583-600. Re-casts collective action theory in subjective terms; emphasizes importance of subjectivity. Data on Dutch unions.

    5. Edward Walsh and Rex Warland. "Social Movement Involvement in the Wake of a Nuclear Accident: Activists and Free Riders in the TMI Area." ASR 48 (Dec 1983): 764-780. also MS 216ff.

    6. Bert Klandermans and Dirk Oegema. "Potentials, Networks, Motivations and Barriers: Steps Toward Participation in Social Movements." ASR 52 (1987): 519-532. Data on mobilization for a Dutch peace march. Besides using cost-benefit logic, a nice logical approach to organizer-centered mobilization and how it works.

    7. Martien Briet et al. "How Women Become Involved in the Women's Movement of the Netherlands." km-2. Klandermans-type study of general community responding to mobilization attempts by local women's groups. Attitudes, type of contact, etc. Dutch.

    8. Bernstein, Mary. "Celebration and Suppression: The Strategic Uses of Identity by the Lesbian and Gay Movement." American Journal of Sociology; 1997, 103, 3, Nov, 531-565. Movement emphasis on difference vs sameness varies with state context.

    9. Staggenborg, S. (1998). "Social Movement Communities and Cycles of Protest: The Emergence and Maintenance of a Local Women's Movement." Social Problems 45(2): 180-204.

    10. * Paul Burstein. Legal Mobilization as a Social Movement Tactic: The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity. American Journal of Sociology 1991, 96, 5, Mar, 1201-1225. Data are EEO cases: relation between mobilization and grievances is problematic, blacks are central, resources are critical.

    11. Tarrow, Power in Movement, Chapter 6 (repertoires of contention), 8(mobilising structures)

  1. Network Studies. Empirical and theoretical discussions of social networks in movement mobilization.

    1. Pamela E. Oliver. 1989. "Bringing the Crowd Back In: The Nonorganizational Elements of Social Movements." Research in Social Movements, Conflict and Change 11: 1-30. Showing how crowds and consciousness can be integrated in collective action and social movement theory.

    2. P. Bert Klandermans. 1990. "Linking the 'Old' and the 'New' Movement Networks in the Netherlands. In Russell J. Dalton and Manfred Kuechler, eds., Challenging the Political Order, pages 122-136. SMOs emerge from existing multi-org fields; continuity. alliance fields, shifting coalitions. conflict system, us vs them toward counter-movements. Drain resources, restrict opportunities; at some point have to bargain. Data on Dutch peace movement: extensive contact with and overlapping membership in other orgs and left parties. conflict system with right parties.

    3. David Snow, Louis Zurcher, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, “Social Movements: A Microstructural Approach to Differential Recruitment.” MS 122-132 ASR 45: 787-801. 1980.

    4. Roger Gould. “Multiple Networks and Mobilization in the Paris Commune, 1871.” MS 133-144. ASR 45: 787-801.

    5. Doug McAdam and Ronnelle Paulsen. “Specifying the Relationship Between Social Ties and Activism.” MS 145-157. AJS 99: 640-667. 1993.

    6. Carol Mueller. “Conflict Networks and the Origins of Women’s Liberation.” MS 158-171. From Laraña et al New Social Movements 1994.

    7. Bert Klandermans and Dirk Oegema. “Potentials, Networks, Motivations, and Barriers: Steps Towards Participation in Social Movements.” BC 342-359. ASR 52 (1987): 519-532. The mobilization process.

    8. Zhao, Dingxin. "Ecologies of Social Movements: Student Mobilization during the 1989 Prodemocracy Movement in Beijing" American Journal of Sociology; 1998, 103, 6, May, 1493-1529. Networks, space.

    9. Diani, Mario Social Movements and Social Capital: A Network Perspective on Movement Outcomes. Mobilization; 1997, 2, 2, Sept, 129-147.

    10. Barkey, K. and R. Van Rossem (1997). "Networks of Contention: Villages and Regional Structure in the Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Empire." American Journal of Sociology 102(5): 1345-1382. Peasant contention resulted from the position of the village in the regional structure, with village-level organization providing the means for contention.

    11. Kitts, J. A. (2000). "Mobilizing in Black Boxes: Social Networks and Participation in Social Movement Organizations." Mobilization 5(2): 241-257. Ties multivalent, can inhibit as well as promote participation.

    12. km-5. Judith Hellman. "Women's Struggle in a Worker's City: Feminist Movements in Turin." The whole book is better but out of print; useful case in which union women were central and autonomous feminists had no base.

    13. Osa, M. (2001). “Mobilizing Structures and Cycles of Protest: Post-Stalinist Contention in Poland, 1954-1959.” Mobilization 6(2): 211-231.

    14. Passy, F. (2001). “Socialization, Connection, and the Structure/Agency Gap: A Specification of the Impact of Networks on Participation in Social Movements.” Mobilization 6(2): 173-192.

    15. Stillerman, J. (2003). “Space, Strategies, and Alliances in Mobilization: The 1960 Metalworkers' and Coal Miners' Strikes in Chile.” Mobilization 8(1): 65-85.

  1. Collective Action Models. The formal theory of collective action has provided some of the theoretical insights underlying instrumentalist approaches to mobilization, and is an interesting theoretical topic in its own right. Students of social movements should at least be aware of this theoretical literature.

    1. Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, (1965) Introduction and Chapter 1. Still very widely cited as true, despite extensive critical literature since its publication. You need to know what he said, as well as know why his argument is misleading (which we will discuss in class).

    2. Pamela E. Oliver and Gerald Marwell. "The Paradox of Group Size in Collective Action. A Theory of the Critical Mass. III." American Sociological Review, Volume 53, Number 1, pages 1-8. (1988) Most widely cited because it is the easiest to read. A direct critique of Olson's "size" argument.

    3. Pamela Oliver. "Formal Models of Collective Action." Annual Review of Sociology 19: 271-300. Summary of Olson's problem and subsequent critics; review of formal models of mobilization for collective action and of models of the interplay between movements and their opponents.

    4. Pamela Oliver, Gerald Marwell, and Ruy Teixeira. "A Theory of the Critical Mass, I. Interdependence, Group Heterogeneity, and the Production of Collective Goods. " American Journal of Sociology, Volume 91, Number 3, pages 522-556. (1985) The technical arguments can be hard to follow, but try to see the main ideas that there are different kinds of collective action and that group heterogeneity is critical.

    5. Gerald Marwell and Pamela Oliver. The Critical Mass in Collective Action. 1993.

    6. Chong, Dennis. Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. 1991.

    7. Chong, Dennis. (1991). “All-or-Nothing Games in the Civil Rights Movement.” Social Science Information / Information sur les Sciences Sociales 30(4): 677-697.

    8. Heckathorn, Douglas D. (1989). “Collective Action and the Second-Order Free-Rider Problem.” Rationality and Society 1(1): 78-100.

    9. Heckathorn, Douglas D. (1993). “Collective Action and Group Heterogeneity: Voluntary Provision versus Selective Incentives.” American Sociological Review 58(3): 329-350.

    10. Heckathorn, Douglas D. (1996). “The Dynamics and Dilemmas of Collective Action.” American Sociological Review 61(2): 250-277.

    11. Macy, Michael W. (1990). “Learning Theory and the Logic of Critical Mass.” American Sociological Review 55(6): 809-826.

    12. Macy, Michael W. (1991). “Chains of Cooperation: Threshold Effects in Collective Action.” American Sociological Review 56(6): 730-747.

    13. Macy, Michael W. and A. Flache (1995). “Beyond Rationality in Models of Choice.” Annual Review of Sociology 21: 73-91.

    14. Kim, Hyojoung; Bearman, Peter S. "The Structure and Dynamics of Movement Participation" American Sociological Review; 1997, 62, 1, Feb, 70-93.

    15. Chwe, M. S. Y. (1999). "Structure and Strategy in Collective Action." American Journal of Sociology 105(1): 128-156.

  1. Organizational Forms & Related Issues. This is a sampling which emphasizes professionalized organizations. Although this is not a “hot” area for theorizing at the moment, organizational issues remain central in many empirical studies. Current thinking locates these issues within a broader context of cycles of protest and political processes.

    1. John McCarthy and Mayer Zald. The Trend of Social Movements in America: Professionalization and Resource Mobilization. (1973) (This is the original. It is more subtle than you would think from citations to it. Worth reading after you know enough about US movements of the 1980s to evaluate its predictions.)

    2. *John and Mayer Zald. "Resource Mobilization and Social Movements." American Journal of Sociology 82 (May, 1977): 1212-1242. (Lots of hypotheses derived from notion that only resources matter; some are clearly wrong, others are quite useful. This is the article that takes all the heat.) In Buechler & Cylke reader.

    3. In Morris and Mueller Frontiers of Social Movement Theory. This is a conference volume. The Schwartz/Paul and Lo papers were drafted as critiques of the original McCarthy/Wolfson paper; McCarthy and Wolfson completely rewrote their paper in response to the critiques, and the three now all make comparable distinctions, with the revised McCarthy/Wolfson paper now having some of the sharpest arguments. The Piven and Cloward piece critiques the whole enterprise.

      1. Michael Schwartz and Shuva Paul. "Resource Mobilization versus the Mobilization of People: Why Consensus Movements Cannot be Instruments of Social Change."

      2. Clarence Y. H. Lo. "Communities of Challengers in Social Movement Theory."

      3. *John D. McCarthy and Mark Wolfson. "Consensus Movements, Conflict Movements, and the Cooptation of Civil and State Infrastructures."

      4. *Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward. "Normalizing Collective Protest." A critique of the whole RM/POT "protest as politics" turn.

    4. Pamela E. Oliver and Gerald Marwell. "Mobilizing Technologies for Collective Action." An analytic piece on fundraising and mobilizing volunteer labor. How the problems of getting money for professionalism or getting volunteers constrain the actions and goals of activists. Closely linked to the empirical articles in this section.

    5. *J. Craig Jenkins and Craig M. Eckert. "Channeling Black Insurgency: Elite Patronage and Professional Social Movement Organizations in the Development of the Black Movement." American Sociological Review 51 (Dec. 1986): 812-829. Takes McAdam's data and extends the series, nailing down the argument.

    6. John D. McCarthy. "Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Mobilization: Infrastructure Deficits and New Technologies." In Mayer N. Zald and John D. McCarthy, eds., Social Movements in an Organizational Society.

    7. *Suzanne Staggenborg. 1988. "The Consequences of Professionalization and Formalization in the Pro-Choice Movement." American Sociological Review 53 (Aug): 585-606. Professionals and entrepreneurs are different roles. Comparative study of many organizations. reprinted in MS 421-439

    8. *Verta Taylor. 1989. "Social Movement Continuity: The Women's Movement in Abeyance." American Sociological Review 54 (Oct): 761-775. abeyance structures; characteristics. ties in with cycles; progress by ratchets. Reprinted in MS 409-420 or BC 423-440

    9. Pamela Oliver and Mark Furman. 1989. "Contradictions Between National and Local Organizational Strength: The Case of the John Birch Society." International Social Movement Research 2: 155-177. Mobilizing action is local, mobilizing money is national. Different problems.

    10. Kleidman, Robert. Volunteer Activism and Professionalism in Social Movement Organizations. Social Problems 1994, 41, 2, May, 257-276. Professionals have varying effects on volunteer mobilization; need more complex concepts to understand issues.

    11. James Petras and Maurice Zeitlin. “Miners and Agrarian Radicalism.” ASR 32: 578-586. 1967. reprinted in MS 82-89. Miners are politically developed, communist & socialist unions. Agricultural municipalities near mining areas are more socialist than those farther away.

    12. Aldon Morris. “Black Southern Student Sit-In Movement: An Analysis of Internal Organization.” MS 90-109. ASR 46" 744-767. 1981. Details of how the sit-ins spread through prior politicized networks.

    13. Herbert Haines. “Black Radicalization and the Funding of Civil Rights: 1957-1970" MS 440-449. Social Problems 32: 31-43. 1984.

    14. Edwards, B. and S. Marullo (1995). “Organizational Mortality in a Declining Social Movement: The Demise of Peace Movement Organizations in the End of the Cold War Era.” American Sociological Review
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