Ideology and the New Social Movements

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9780415076081: Ideology and the New Social Movements

"Ideology and the New Social Movements" provides an assessment of current debates concerning the nature and motivation of social movements and collective action. In particular, Alan Scott focuses on the competing theoretical explanations of the rise and character of the "new social movements" in North America and Europe. After introducing the major themes in the debate about new social movements, the book reviews mainstream theories, both functionalist and neo-Marxist, then moves on to a discussion of recent sociological, economic and political writings. Specific examples, most notably the rise of the West German Greens, are used to assess the value of the different approaches. Alan Scott argues that theories of long-term change, such as the transition to the "post industrial" society, give insufficient attention to the political and organizational aspects of social movements, and exaggerate the differences between older, class-based movements and the "new" politics. While models inspired by economic analysis do address problems of organization and the barriers to collective action, they do so from the standpoint of a narrowly instrumental view of rationality. The author concludes by arguing that the idea of social closure, which can accommodate questions of allegiance and identity and control of resources, has considerable explanatory power, and can encompass the cultural and political aspects of social movements. Such an approach rejects dramatic theories of discontinuity between "old" and "new" social movements.

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Alan Scott
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ISBN 10: 0415076080 ISBN 13: 9780415076081
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Scott, Allan
ISBN 10: 0415076080 ISBN 13: 9780415076081
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