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31 - Collective Action for Social Change

Individual, Group, and Contextual Factors Shaping Collective Action and Its Outcomes

from Part III - Contemporary Challenges to Democracy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2022

Danny Osborne
Affiliation:
University of Auckland
Chris G. Sibley
Affiliation:
University of Auckland
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Summary

Collective action is a pervasive aspect of political life in the 21st century. In the past 20 years, it has also been increasingly studied as a psychologically mediated and consequential form of political behaviour. Initial research focused primarily on the collective organisation of action. This was appropriate: collective action is inherently a group phenomenon. However, this chapter adapts the framework provided by Duncan (2012) to take a broader perspective to examine contemporary scholarship in relation to the individual, group, and contextual factors shaping collective action and its outcomes. We review literature emphasising a key role for individual differences in ideological beliefs and moral conviction, in shaping engagement in collective action. Life experiences such as contact with members of disadvantaged groups, and mobilising interactions (online and offline) have allowed people to co-act across ostensible category boundaries. The depth and breadth of the contemporary literature suggests the need for a broader meta-theory, drawing on the principles of dynamic interactionism, to allow us to more fully articulate what kinds of situations elicit mobilisation potential, and for whom.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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