lunedì 21 ottobre 2013

Diffusion Models of Cycles of Protest as a Theory of Social Movements by Pamela E. Oliver (University of Wisconsin) Daniel J. Myers (University of Notre Dame) @ (1998)

Diffusion Models of Cycles of Protest as a Theory of Social Movements 
Pamela E. Oliver (University of Wisconsin)
Daniel J. Myers (University of Notre Dame)
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Paper prepared for presentation at the session on "Describing, Analyzing and Theorizing Social Movements" of Research Committee 48, Social Movements, Collective Action, and Social Change, at the Congress of the International Sociological Association, Montreal, July 30, 1998. 

This paper develops a theoretical framework for understanding social movements as interrelated sets of diffusion processes. It first explains why such a conception is broadly useful to scholars of social movements, and then gives some preliminary examples of such theorizing. A social movement can be understood as a complex set of many actions by many different collective actors all oriented toward some very broad issue or goal. These actions affect each other as actors respond to what others have done, and as they accumulate, they build into the broad phenomena we collect under the label “social movement.” This conception of a social movement is closely linked to the common recognition of cycles or waves of protest and collective violence. In particular, this conception recognizes that movement actors are affected by actions in other movements, not only their own, and that the dynamics of cycles of protest are driven by the interplay between dissidents and regimes, and between peaceful and disruptive forms of protest. This conception of social movements is closely related to much current thinking in the field and is also somewhat consistent with some of the social constructionist images of collective identities as emergent processes. By adding explicit diffusion concepts, we are able to formalize and mathematize many of our theoretical understandings, thus making it possible to create a coherent theoretical structure which can be linked to the wealth of new empirical data being collected on the time series of various kinds of violent and nonviolent events in a number of different nations. We are developing mathematical models of the diffusion of collective action in cycles or waves of protest, with a particular emphasis on the diffusion of collective violence and disruptive collective protest and the ways these are affected by cycles of non-disruptive protest, the formation and institutionalization of movement organizations, and the social control efforts of regimes. Multiple-equation models are being developed for expressing the interplay among different forms of action and between regimes and dissidents in such cases as the new social movements of Europe in 1975-1990. 

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