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Structure And Anarchy - Essay Example

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In theory and logic it is relatively easy to show that structure and leadership are more effective than anarchy and consensus in getting things done. In historical experience, however, there is a good argument to be made that movements have made their greatest accomplishments at times when formal leadership and structure have been least important, and anarchy and consensus most prevalent.This paper explores the two arguments to evaluate the strengths and limitations of alternative positions on a set of related issues addressing structure, leadership, majority votes to determine group positions, consensus, working to avoid having leaders or seeing everyone as a leader, group processes, and the…
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Structure And Anarchy
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Download file to see previous pages Any organization has a structure and leadership. It is also recognized that an organization is primarily its people. In theoretical discussions it is widely agreed that social movements are not organizations. As Freeman (1978) says," Granted, most movements are not organizations and thus not able to make conscious decisions about their direction. Usually they consist of numerous core groups and a large penumbra of sympathizers. Nonetheless, these core groups serve as the foci of a movement's values and activities and determine much of its deliberate policy". It is here that the crux issue rises. Lacking a resolute structure a social movement always faces instability and the conflict between group maintenance needs and goal achievement needs. The core values of the movement can have a constellation of other values supported by differing groups. These values can be parallel or opposed to core values. The opposing values and their support groups can be in a consensus and form a noticeable opposition. So long as the leadership and the majority that support leadership and movement's core values are able to outnumber and control opposing opinions and groups structure prevails and the movement sails along smoothly with foci values. The instability of movements and opposite values and opinions are particularly strong in movements with democratic values, where the structure is deliberately loosely defined and monitored as too much structure can suppress participation and inhibit eagerness.(Lenin,1901) So social movements offer incentives for order maintenance and also to increase membership. Wilson (1973) identifies four major categories of incentives that an organization can deploy in order to maintain its membership. These are material incentives (money, goods, and other tangible rewards); specific solidarity incentives (status, power, and other intangible benefits that are scarce); collective solidarity incentives (prestige, friendship, fun, and other rewards from being part of a group); and purposive incentives (value fulfillment, or the sense of satisfaction from contributing to a worthwhile cause).Maintenance of consensus becomes a major task of the movement leadership so as to remain on course to foci values.Graeber(2002) defines the consensus process as ," The basic idea of consensus process is that, rather than voting, you try to
come up with proposals acceptable to everyone-or at least, not highly objectionable to anyone: first state the proposal, then ask for 'concerns' and try to address them".
When opposition in a movement becomes splintered with no conclusive or majority based foci value then chaos prevails. "Anarchy means without government, which is different forms of vertically organized, i.e. chaotic included, economic and/or political-administrative ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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