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Who participates in movement - Essay Example

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It is interesting to take a look at the types of people who become social activists, and what reasons they might have for becoming active in a social movement. Knowing these psychological factors can help protest movements recruit new members or increase the participation of…
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Who participates in movement
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Download file to see previous pages McAdam disregards strict definitions of recruitment, movement, and activism, and instead focuses on the process of an individual’s participation in activism.
Risk and cost assessment gives his theories a good base. Risks taken on the part of the activist cost him something (positive or negative cost). As an example, signing a petition is a low risk, low cost activity; organizing homeless people is a high risk, high cost activity. Individuals do a conscious or subconscious risk/cost assessment before they participate in activism activities. An individual may verbally support an idea yet not physically participate in higher cost activities such as rallies or writing letters to Congress. Individuals may choose to participate in higher risk/cost activities, if those risks/costs are acceptable to him. These individuals typically “(a) have a history of activism, (b) [are] deeply committed to the ideology and goals of the movement, (c) [are] integrated into activist networks, and (d) [are] relatively free of personal constraints that would make participation especially risky” (71).
By contrast, Polletta states that people join high risk/cost movements “because it is fun; because their sense of solidarity with people they know who are already in the movement demands it; because if they don’t, no one else will; because they are morally shocked and compelled by an injustice” (35). She refers to McAdam’s works and expands on the “narrative” component of recruitment. Protesters and activists, whether their actions are believed to be spontaneous or are the result of long-standing commitment to the movement, tell a powerful story that inspires others to agree and perhaps join in.
Participating in protest and activism is a somewhat organic process from the individual’s point of view; people are inspired when the movement’s ideology rings true with their own ideology, and find themselves participating without really understanding how they got ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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