Today I am providing the inaugural paper for our “New Work” section here at Sparking The Left: a brief primer on social movement theory from a sociological perspective.
Social movement theory is an important topic, and all those engaged in activism stand to learn a great deal from it. There is a vibrant academic community rigorously analyzing social movements and much is still to be learned. Yet, this is only a primer that will get you thinking about social movements and the dynamics present within and inside of the milieu around them.
It is an academic paper with cited sources from peer-reviewed journals, but do not be intimidated. I made it as accessible as possible.
You will be able to find the piece in its entirety beneath the “New Work” tab at the top of the STL homepage, but you can find the introduction below:
Below you will find a brief introduction to social movement (SM) theory and its main tenets from a sociological perspective. I include the three dynamics that serve as the foundation in the studies of SMs today: resource mobilization theory, political process theory, and framing processes. Hopefully this paper will inspire you to do some of your own research if you plan on engaging in contentious politics. I believe that all actors practicing collective action would be much aided with such a line of research.
All of the referenced material here can either be found in a downloadable .pdf format at Google Scholar or cited for reading at your local university’s library.