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Why do some protest groups use violence in the context of collective action - Essay Example

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Contentious politics represents the utilization of disruptive techniques to deliver a political point, or alter government policy. Some of the techniques constitute actions that disturb the normal activities of the society such as riot, demonstrations, civil disobedience, or even insurrection; hence, social movements frequently engage in contentious politics. …
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Why do some protest groups use violence in the context of collective action
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Download file to see previous pages Social change may render certain social groups to flourish or become powerful, and politically relevant; nevertheless, the availability of political opportunities does not automatically and immediately yield to heightened protest (Tarrow 1998, p.16). Collective action mainly focuses wholly on the behaviour and/or the authenticity of certain individuals. Collective identity draws from the recognition and the establishment of connectedness, which heralds a sense of common purpose and commitment to a certain cause. Social protests performances mainly emerge from marginalized peoples and oppositional struggles, whereby individuals utilize protests to counter hegemonic strategic via which underrepresented groups challenge the dominant social order and source of change. The representational apparatus provided by social protests serves to reinforce, re-articulate, and re-imagine the objectives of both social and political resistance (Oliver 1993, p.271). Traditional explanations to why individuals engage in political violence emphasize that deprivation, characteristically in the form of economic inequality generates grievances and discontent that trigger rebellion and social revolution (McCarthy and Zald 1977, p.1212). The paper explores why some protest groups utilize violence within the context of collective action. Background The contentious politics that were prominent in the 1960s and early 1970s heralded fresh energy to a subject that, for an extended period, has dominated scholarly and political legitimacy. In the 1970s, two prominent paradigms emerged from the welter of studies triggered by the disorderly politics of the 1960s, namely: the resource mobilization (RM) approach to social movement organizations within the US and the new social movement (NSM) approach within Western Europe (Thompson 1971, p.76). Historically, breakdown theory was the dominant theory that guided sociological study of collective action; nevertheless, this theory as deemed to be increasingly incapable of accounting for the contemporaneous events (Useem 1998, p.215; Aminzade et al. 2001, p.12). Resource mobilization theory replaced breakdown theory as the dominant paradigm. Both resource mobilization and breakdown theories explain diverse forms of phenomena, and both are pertinent in helping account for the full range of forms of collective action (Goodwin and Jasper 2009, p.10). Use of Violence in the Context of Collective Action Collective action represents actions by group members directed at enhancing the conditions of the group as a unit such as petitions, demonstrations, riots, boycotts, and sit-ins. There are numerous explanations to collective action such as relative deprivation, intergroup, social identity, intergroup emotion, and resource mobilization theories. Classical theories indicate that people mostly protests to express their grievances emanating from frustration, relative deprivation, or perceived injustice. Scholars of social movements have highlighted that efficacy, opportunities, and resources can be utilized to predict protest participation (Tilly 2008, p.8). Politics within networks enhance efficacy and transform individual grievances into shared grievances and group-based anger that yields protest participation. At the heart of social movement phenomena is the protest event, whereby protest events are in numerous ways the front line of action within social movements. It is essential to recognize that social protests represent a collective action that is not synonymous with collective behaviours such as riots. Collection ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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