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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: March 2018

Chapter 6 - Bridging Social Movements and Social Problems

from Part I - General Concerns and Orientations in the Study of Social Problems


The history of social movement scholarship reveals that, despite implicit connections between movements and social problems, explicit analytical ties between the two areas remain weak. Consequently, based on the history of movement theory and its relations with social problems, I identify four directions for future research that can strengthen ties between the two substantive areas. First, movement scholars should resituate movements in a wider range of collective civic claimsmaking. Second, scholars should revisit Hilgartner and Bosk's (1988) arenas model of social problem formation as a theoretical foundation for connecting the formation of movement grievances with the social problems. Broadening the application of this theory will better situate scholarship on movements’ multi-institutional politics in groups multiple institutional contexts. Third, future scholarship should strengthen ties between literatures on global social problems and global/international movements. Fourth, research collaborations should strive to develop new methods of studying activism across locations and over time.

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