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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Social movements have developed a complex link with social theory over time within the Western tradition of social thought. It has offered a series of ideas identifying a problem such as Marx’ idea of class consciousness and ideas that have been taken up much later in doing social movement research (such as Durkheim’s ideas on the role of emotions). This tradition originates equally in the “macro-theoretical” tradition, as in the “micro-theoretical” tradition. The step beyond these is to focus on micro-foundations that avoid the (misleading) agency–structure distinction. This locates the micro-foundations of collective action not in a notion of agency, but in the structures of social relations (networks) that link social action events by circulating meaning through these relations. The macro-problem then is the emergence of complexity out of these structures of social relations for which evolutionary theory provides new analytical tools.

Keywords: network structures, mobilization, collective action, emotions, institutions, semantics, micro–macro distinction

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