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1 - 1 of 1 results for: OB 632: Social Movements

OB 632: Social Movements

Social movement actors have helped initiate some of the major social, cultural, and political changes of the modern era. It is hard to imagine a major political or social reform that did not find its origins in a social movement or collective action. Social movement scholarship has flourished in political sociology and has recently gained a foothold in organizational theory as an explanation for innovation and organizational change. The purpose of this course is to provide you a roadmap for you to roam the terrain of movements and organizations, and be prepared to generate original research ideas that extend inquiry in your chosen area of research.nOrganizations and industries are frequent targets of collective action. Social movement activists frequently target organizations (e.g., corporations, universities) in order to bring about political and social change. Because most organizations are not democracies, movements must find ways to penetrate their closed boundaries if they are to have an influence inside organizations. At the same time, social movements make good use of organizations to carry out their own goals, creating structures that help them carry out their goals, reproduce their missions and tactics, and effectively generate collective action. Social movement organizations develop as vehicles for social change. One purpose of this course is to examine the complex relationship between social movements and organizations. nIn order to understand the empirical link between movements and organizations, we will rely on social movement and organizational theory. Like the phenomena they seek to explain, these theories are strongly intertwined. Since the 1970s, organizational theory has strongly influenced social movement theory. Mayer Zald, John McCarthy, and others imported ideas from the burgeoning field of organizational theory to move social movement scholarship beyond naïve conceptions of collective action and crowd behavior. Under the umbrella of resource mobilization and political process theory, organizational theory strongly influenced our understanding of the structural underpinnings of collective action. In recent years, social movement scholars have also begun examining the culture and social psychological dimensions of social movement organizations. nDuring most of the 1980s and 1990s, the link between social movement theory and organizational theory was a one-way road. Social movement scholars did most of the conceptual borrowing and organizational theorists, for the most part, ignored political sociology. However, in the last decade the opposing lane has been opened. The rise of economic sociology – a large theoretical domain interested in the overlap between market, political, and social processes – and a growing demand among organizational theorists (especially in institutional theory) for mechanisms that explain purposeful, strategic action (i.e., agency) created fertile grounds for social movement theory. In the first part of the 2000s, leading scholars from both fields began holding conferences and workshops and a few articles were published seeking to show the value of social movement concepts to organizational theory. This effort to link the two literatures has been well received. As more scholars began importing social movement concepts to explain organizational phenomena, organizational scholarship turned its attention (again) to issues related to power, politics, and contestation. The convergence of the two research streams has also begun to spur theoretical innovation, especially in bridging structural and cultural explanations for organizational change.nIn this course we will cover topics that explore how movements use organizations to propel change and that examine how movements help generate social change by targeting organizations. We will also evaluate the theoretical developments at the nexus of these two literatures, identifying the major innovations as well as looking for new research opportunities.
Last offered: Winter 2015
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