Power in Movement Social Movements and Contentious Politics by SIDNEY G. TARROW


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Because social movements seldom possess either Olson’s selective incentives or constraints over followers, movement leadership has a creative function in selecting forms of collective action that people will respond to. Leaders invent, adapt, and combine various forms of contention to gain support from people who might otherwise stay at home. Economist Albert Hirschman had something like this in mind when he complained that Olson regarded collective action only as a cost – when to many it is a benefit (1982: 82–91).

But particularly in 16 Charles Tilly writes: Authorities and thoughtless historians commonly describe popular contention as disorderly. . But the more closely we look at that same contention, the more we discover order. We discover order created by the rooting of collective action in the routines and organization of everyday social life, and by its involvement in a continuous process of signaling, negotiation, and struggle with other parties whose interests the collective action touches. See his The Contentious French (1986: 4).

But after being clapped into Mussolini’s prisons, he revised Lenin’s organizational solution with two theorems: first, that a fundamental task of the party was to create a historic bloc of forces around the working class (1971: 168); and, second, that this could occur only if a cadre of “organic intellectuals” were developed from within the working class to complement the “traditional” intellectuals in the party leadership (pp. 6–23). 3 Gramsci’s solution to the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie was to produce a countercultural consensus among workers, give them a capacity for taking autonomous initiatives, and build bridges between them and other social formations.

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