Presentation on theme: "1 Social movements, Networks, and Movement Societies Masaryk University, Brno, 10 December 2008 Mario Diani University of Trento"— Presentation transcript:
1 Social movements, Networks, and Movement Societies Masaryk University, Brno, 10 December 2008 Mario Diani University of Trento
2 My talk will consist of three steps a) (briefly) reviewing some recent uses of the idea of movement society and identify some basic flaws; b) proposing a view of civil society as consisting of different structural positions; c) reassessing the movement society thesis in relational terms.
3 The movement society: a) More protest b) More diffuse protest c) Less confrontational protest d) More accepted protest (preventive rather than repressive policing) Overall trend: Institutionalization, i.e., recurrent, routinized patterns of collective action replace movement activity as constant redefinition of practices, goals, alliances, identities
4 Problem: A view of collective action as aggregate of individual actors, events, practices, and/or behaviors “The more of X, the more of MS” (e.g. Soule and Earl, Mobilization, 2005) But how do actors, events, etc., combine in relational processes? And how do they distribute across civil society?
5 “Networks of civic organizations in Britain” A study of civic networks in two cities with different political cultures: Glasgow, polarized along class cleavage; Labour dominance Bristol, based on multiple cleavages; diverse BME sector; alternance Labour / Conservatives; ‘new’ social movements
6 The study A project in the ESRC “Democracy and Participation” Program, directed by Paul Whiteley (L ). In , F2F interviews with 124 organizations in Glasgow and 134 in Bristol, promoting advocacy and representation on …. …. environmental, ethnic and minority, community& social exclusion issues.
7 The unit of analysis All prominent organizations operating city-wide and all prominent organizations from two local areas. Prominence originates from mix of reputation and snow-ball sampling. Only one organization mentioned more than three times (a BME organization in Bristol) could not be included Respondents were asked to nominate five closest contacts.
8 Alliance structure in Glasgow
9 Core blocks only, Glasgow
10 Peripheral block only, Glasgow
and now back to the full picture
12 Bristol: the same
13 Core blocks only, Bristol
14 Peripheral block only, Bristol
and back again to the full picture
16 Core block 1, Glasgow: all ties
17 Only ties based on shared activists
18 Core block 3, Glasgow: all ties
19 Only ties based on shared activists
20 Bristol is the same. So far, we see a) dense (black & blue nodes) and sparse (red nodes) networks of resource exchange b) dense (black nodes) and sparse (blue & red nodes) networks of identity ties (reflected in shared people: Simmel’s The Intersection of Social Circles) How do network properties match actors’ categorical traits? I focus on the difference between ‘black block’, or ‘strong ties block’, and other blocks.
21 Organizational traits
22 Mixed evidence Bristol organizations have a) less active members b) more professionals; and c) rely more on public funds than Glaswegian ones (in line with conventional accounts of the two cities). Overall, however, the profile of the two cities is relatively close.
23 Mixed (more interesting) evidence.... Bristol shows no differences between structural positions on any organizational indicator, while.... Glasgow has a mixed profile, as organizations in the ‘strong ties block’ depend less than others on public funds, have less professional staff, and are less formalized
24 Action repertoires
25 Much clearer evidence The overall profile of the two cities is identical. Yet,.... in Bristol, no differences at all between structural positions.... in Glasgow, organizations in the ‘strong ties block’ are more likely to adopt any tactic Is the main divide between politics and service delivery, rather than protest and pressure politics?
26 Involvement in public events
27 More clear evidence Similar level of involvement in events (with 25% attending none). Bristol more attracted by civic events, Glasgow by protest events. In Bristol, no differences at all between structural positions In Glasgow, organizations in the ‘strong ties block’ more involved in any event
28 Institutionalized organizations?
29 Still more clear evidence Similar levels of involvement with local political institutions. No differences between different structural positions in either city. Only exception, organizations in the ‘strong ties block’ in Glasgow reject professionalization. Otherwise, all are similarly open to, and (un)happy with, local institutions.
30 A movement society? Consistently with the mov society thesis: 62% organizations in Bristol, 49% in Glasgow do identify as social movements 55% promote peaceful demos, 40% boycott products moderate protest repertoire Protest-prone organizations are as linked as others to local institutions. They are also relatively formalized.
31 Differences across positions I
32 Differences across positions II
33 Traits and relations
34 Or movement societies?
35 Conclusions 1. Local settings as proxies for political systems with variable cleavage salience and polarization 2. Local differences may not reflect too much of variance in actors’ traits 3. But may reflect very different distributions of traits across civic networks