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SOCI 3006 – Collective Behaviour July 2006 Review #2. 1. Administrative all materials for test are on website password for website is cjrocks. 2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour “Collective behaviour may be defined as those forms of

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1. Administrative

  • all materials for test are on website
  • password for website is cjrocks

2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour

  • “Collective behaviour may be defined as those forms of
  • social behaviour in which usual conventions cease to
  • guide social action and people collectively transcend,
  • bypass or subvert established institutional patterns
  • and structures” (Turner and Killian, 1987)
  • Violent/Destructive Collective Behaviour
  • mass suicides – usually, hysterical beliefs form the basis,
  • strong group pressures to conform to belief structures,
  • group practices (but do they attract particular
  • personality dispositions?) – Heaven’s Gate group in 1997,
  • Jonestown, Guyana in 1977)

2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour

  • mob violence – normally non-violent people attacking
  • people or property with the goal of destroying, injuring,
  • killing – may be organized or unorganized
  •  lynchings
  •  Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY
  • Riots – sudden outbreaks, often a ‘venting’ of collective
  • emotion – can be deadly and destructive, or ‘celebration’
  • riots
          •  hockey riots
  •  Christie Pits 1933
  •  May Day celebrations in Akron, Ohio, 1994
  •  Chicago Bulls, 1997 riot

2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour

  • mob violence – normally non-violent people attacking
  • people or property with the goal of destroying, injuring,
  • killing – may be organized or unorganized
  •  lynchings
  •  Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY
  • Riots – sudden outbreaks, often a ‘venting’ of collective
  • emotion – can be deadly and destructive, or ‘celebration’
  • riots
          •  hockey riots
  •  Christie Pits 1933
  •  May Day celebrations in Akron, Ohio, 1994
  •  Chicago Bulls, 1997 riot

2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour

  • (b) Consumers and Collective Behaviour
  • crazes and panics – crazes are usually motivated by financial
  • gain - the Beer Can collecting craze in the 1970’s; Western
  • gear in Japan; chain letters; Elmo; Barbie – panics are
  • motivated by fear, often of financial loss – like
  • the crash of 1929; Nortel
  • fads – the desire to possess, not necessarily for profit –
  • often created by marketers, mass media – dance fads,
  • toy fads (Davey Crocket), game fads (Trivial Pursuit; Monopoly) –
  • on the whole, harmless activities

2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour

  • (c) Hysterias
  • rumors – a piece of information that is not or cannot be
  • verified – often spreading rapidly during periods of
  • anxiety/concern, in the absence of other more reliable
  • information – Mcdonald’s worm-burgers, Colgate/Palmolive,
  • summer camp rumours
  • physical hysteria – a physiological manifestation of
  • collective behaviour – the June Bug phenomenon in 1962;
  • release of the film The Exorcist
  • millenarian groups – belief in the world coming to an end
  • on a given date – either utopian vision or apocalyptic
  • (catastrophic) vision – Miller and the Millerites, 1831

2. General Categories of Collective Behaviour

  • (c) Hysterias
  • sightings and miracles – religious apparitions (Fatima; Sabana
  • Grande; Thomson, Man.) – also UFO sightings (Rozwell)

4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992

  • 1965 – the Watts riot – the most deadly, destructive riot until

Miami, 1980

  • 1992 – the Los Angeles riot tops the list in terms of destruction,


  • “a riot is a violent and emotional social disruption”
  • may be destruction of property, injuries, death
  • note the Plymouth/Massachusetts Bay Colony riot of 1634
  • the most violent riots of the 20th century generally stemming

from issues of race, social class (note p. 110 of text)


4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

  • the 1992 L.A. riot also known as the ‘Rodney King’ riot
  • text uses Smelser’s value-added theory to analyze riots
  • riot resulted in 51 deaths; 2, 383 injuries; $1 billion in damages,

over 700 businesses burned over a three-day long period of

rioting, burning, looting, violence, shooting

  • 25 square block area of the city was devastated

4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

  • the L.A. riot exploded after the verdict was announced in the

Rodney King case

  • March 3, 1991 – King pursued in high-speed car chase

by L.A. police officers – ‘Tasered’, but did not succumb to the

weapon – subsequently beaten with batons (56 times hit) causing

multiple fractures, nerve damage, broken ankle, etc.

  • George Holliday, living in an apartment overlooking the incident,

filmed it

  • Holliday’s tape shown over and over again on national news

4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

  • despite calls for him to step down, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates


  • four officers involved in beating tried beginning March, 1992 in

a changed venue, Ventura County (98% white)

  • April 29, 1992 – verdict in – hung verdict on one count against

officer Laurence Powell, not guilty on all other charges

  • immediately following verdict outrage in Black, Hispanic

communities in particular – quickly erupted into destruction of

property, then violence – by the next day, 2400 National Guard

troops brought in, curfews implemented

  • Blacks did not account for the majority of rioters

4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

    • structural conduciveness – outrage against courts, system of

justice, failure to punish officers involved – lack of available

legitimate channel to express their outrage – communication

among the aggrieved parties, combined with other factors,

including densely populated urban core streets, warm weather,

availability of weapons, businesses to loot, vandalize

    • structural strain – perception of ongoing racism in justice

system – history of past riots, shootings of Blacks, tension

between Black/Hispanic communities, poor community

relations between police and citizens, excessive force

allegations, then the Rodney King incident


4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

    • generalized belief – belief among Blacks, Hispanics, others

that justice cannot be had for them – media edited tape

selectively – naturally, most members of the public assumed

the officers would be convicted – Mayor Bradley’s statements

further supported belief that ‘system had failed’

    • mobilization of participants – note that no rioting itself

occurred in Ventura County – but rather, South-Central L.A.,

with violence directed first at authority symbols, then at

convenient, ‘safe’ targets – note role of media here in a

leadership role, directing rioters, unintentionally(?) urging

them on


4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

    • social control – L.A. police underestimated reaction to

verdict (note Gates at a fund-raiser) – poor planning,

coordinated, intelligence, tension between Mayor and Chief of

Police, not enough officers on duty even to begin to

handle situation – question? – what have police learned

since the L.A. riots?


4. Deadly Riots – the Los Angeles Riot of 1992 (cont’d)

    • classification of participants – (from Turner and Killian)
      • ego-involved (the most personally ‘engaged’ and

‘invested’ in the outcome of the verdict)

      • concerned (not so invested, but possibly helpful to

the rioters, generally supportive)

      • insecure (those just ‘along for the ride’ because they want

to be part of it, but not really invested at all)

      • spectators (lots of these in the L.A. riots)
      • ego-detached exploiters (L.A. riots literally taken over by

these – the looters, targets changed from authority symbols

to businesses, and ransacking these)


1. Administrative

    • hand back midterm
    • supplementary test – Thursday, July 20, 2006
    • supplementary test – 20 multiple choice/true-false
    • supplementary test worth 10 marks
    • essays due Thursday, July 20
    • all materials for test are on website
    • password for website is cjrocks

2. Images, Miracles and Apparitions

  • a common form of collective behaviour
  • generally take place in a public, secular setting, despite their
  • often religious nature (note Durkheim on sacred/profane)
  • Images
      • belief in the spontaneous appearance of a religious
      • figure on an everyday object
      • e.g. - the face of Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich;
      • Jesus and other figures observed on walls, automobile
      • body parts; frying pans; windows, storage tanks, etc.
      • all follow a similar pattern; some individual notices
      • the image, interprets it as the likeness of a religious
      • figure, interprets this as some form of miracle, tells
      • friends, who may then tell others

2. Images, Miracles and Apparitions (cont’d)

  • Images
      • interest/belief in images usually relatively short-term
      • those who believe in the image accept that it is caused
      • by a mundane event (rust, stains, lighting, etc.) but
      • believe that these things have been somehow
      • manipulated by a divine force to show the image
      • - accessibility by large crowds a key factor
  • Miracles
      • tangible physical objects that ‘miraculously’ move, or
      • cry, drip blood, etc.
      • miracles often more denomination-specific, less
      • plausible to general public, more likely to occur indoors

2. Images, Miracles and Apparitions (cont’d)

  • Miracles
      • usually belief/non-belief straightforward – either the
      • statue of the Virgin is bleeding, or it is not, or at least
      • not real blood
      • usually requires predisposition to believe (religious)
  • Apparitions
          • - involve the miraculous appearance of a figure – religious,
          • ghosts, angels, famous people – but unlike images and
          • miracles, the apparition if most often visible to only
          • one or a handful of people
          • - may involve claims from some individuals that they are
          • able to communicate with the apparition
          • - why so many apparitions involve young girls?

2. Images, Miracles and Apparitions (cont’d)

  • The Soybean Savior – Jesus on an Oil Tank
      • Fostoria, Ohio, 1986
      • Locher analyzes incident using Smelser’s value-added
      • theory
      • structural conduciveness (religious Christian
      • community, rural, image was easily viewed from cars,
      • August was nice weather in evenings, vacation time,
      • image appeared just off the most traveled road in town)
      • - structural strain (high crime rate, hard economic times,
      • very hot, dry weather)

2. Images, Miracles and Apparitions (cont’d)

  • The Soybean Savior – Jesus on an Oil Tank
      • generalized belief (devout believers, devout skeptics,
      • doubting participants, nonbelievers)
      • - mobilization of participants (local people strongly
      • urged others to take a look; the media got involved
      • (August 1986 a slow news time), religious leaders
      • social control – local authorities unable to deter
      • onlookers, so managed, facilitated orderly viewing
  • note: how important a single individual’s ‘definition of the
  • situation’ was in creating, shaping events
  • what caused this event to end?

2. Images, Miracles and Apparitions (cont’d)

  • Our Lady of Clearwater
      • Clearwater, Florida, 1996 – 2001
      • again, use of Smelser’s value-added theory
      • also, use of Turner and Killian’s types of crowd
      • participants (ego-involved, concerned, insecure,
      • spectators, exploiters)

3. Rumours, Urban Myths and Urban Legends

  • a rumour is an unconfirmed statement or fact passed through
  • informal communication
  • often rumours arise in situations of anxiety/uncertainty, where
  • individuals will seek any sort of information to make sense of
  • what is happening
  • tellers may repeat rumours out of a feeling of ‘being in the
  • know’ or feeling powerful – status, attention, to create excitement
  • believers consider the information plausible and accept it as
  • fact
  • rumours often serve to confirm what believers already suspect or
  • want to believe is true

3. Rumours, Urban Myths and Urban Legends (cont’d)

  • urban legends are a form of rumour told as a story (the
  • bathtub legend, or the Eddie Murphy legend; the Hippie girl
  • and the baby in the oven)
  • urban myths are a form of rumour told in regard to a specific
  • ‘fact’ (cocaine in Coca Cola; tooth in Coca-Cola; the myth
  • of babies sacrificed by Satanic Cults – Geraldo Rivera)
  • the Proctor and Gamble rumour – and analysis using the
  • emergent norm theory

3. Rumours, Urban Myths and Urban Legends (cont’d)

  • uncertainty and the ‘rumour public’ – belief that ‘something is
  • wrong with the country’ and this ‘Satanism’ promoted by a
  • large corporation could be it
  • urgency – if something not done quickly, the devil would take over
  • but note as well poor economy at the time
  • communication of mood and imagery – the circular reaction
  • among the rumour public – the role of the church newsletters and
  • direct-mail flyers (also, eventually, Am-Way)
  • constraint – in particular, among religious congregations fueled
  • by their Ministers

3. Rumours, Urban Myths and Urban Legends (cont’d)

  • selective individual suggestibility – polarization of beliefs,
  • leading to spread of acceptance of rumour by those already
  • selectively likely to accept (religious groups)
  • permissiveness – free to discuss, share concerns, different
  • versions, ‘takes’ on the rumour, openly
  • note: why do we accept rumours when we suspect/know they
  • are false?

1. Administrative

    • all materials up to Lecture 8 are on website
    • password for website is cjrocks

2. Fads

    • fads appear quickly, and disappear just as quickly
    • may be related to physical activities (mini-golf, dances)
    • fads may re-surface periodically (skateboarding; roller
    • skating/blading, skipping)
    • activity fads - centre on leisure-type activities like dances,
    • physical activities (phone-booth or VW stuffing), often
    • heavily promoted in mass media
    • useful product fads - K-Tel products; the ‘silver bullet’;
    • gasoline additives; backyard vinyl swimming pools

2. Fads

    • frivolous product fads – Pet Rocks; plastic flamingo lawn
    • ornaments
  • 3. Crazes
    • different than fads, involve the purchase, investment in
    • something in order to make a profit
    • need to be distinguished from legitimate, real increase
    • in commodities, stocks – in the case of crazes, speculation
    • usually in terms of things that have little or no use value
    • often the ‘craze’ commodities become value-less overnight
    • e.g. – the Florida land craze; Alaska gold-rush; buried
    • treasure

4. Toy Fads

    • the ‘hot’ Christmas toy
    • Tickle-me-Elmo, Beanie Babies, Furby Frenzy, X-Box,
    • GI Joe, Cabbage Patch Dolls, etc.
    • in rush to acquire the toy, collective violence can
    • erupt, financial speculation, etc.
    • note – how the toy fad can actually lead to increased
    • social interaction, milling, communication, etc.
    • uncertainty – often, created by toy manufacturer, media as
    • a way of boosting sales, selling out product
    • urgency – there is only a limited number, and a limited time
    • frame in which to get the product – importance here of
    • media, rumours, creating a sense of panic

4. Toy Fads

    • communication of mood and imagery – note importance
    • here of milling behaviour, depictions of this in media,
    • rumour networks, stores creating circumstances, line-ups
    • increasing communication of a sense of uncertainty,
    • urgency
    • constraint – both normative influence and informational
    • influence – feeling that, maybe the others who you see
    • doing this know something you don’t know
    • selective individual suggestibility – the tendency for
    • crowd members to ‘selectively’ attend to, integrate
    • information, behaviour that confirms/conforms to the
    • new emerging norms
    • permissiveness – the sense that behaviours, attitudes
    • normally unacceptable are okay in this new situation (e.g. pushing, shoving, lying)

4. Toy Fads(cont’d)

    • classification of participants – ego-involved (parents,
    • grandparents, relatives), concerned (those attempting
    • to get a toy for someone else), insecure (getting a toy
    • for the sake of saying you got one), spectators (shoppers,
    • the general public, media), ego-detached exploiters
    • (counterfeiters, bootleggers, pirates, scalpers)
  • note: to what extent do fads represent a desire to possess a
  • status position, as defined by social norms (the good parent)

5. Millennialism

    • what happened to the dire predictions for the year 2000?
    • the Y2K Apocalypse?
    • note that much of the concern began with the potential
    • inability of older computers to handle the four digits
    • required to distinguish the year 2000 from the number 00 –
    • a potential problem in being able to accurately calculate
    • dates, billing, many statistics, etc. – predictions that,
    • for example, the Shuttle would be lost in space, computer
    • networks would grind to halt
    • many alarmist writers, commentators predicted some sort
    • of modern day apocalypse – cars would stop running,
    • infrastructure would crumble, chaos would result, ATMs
    • would stop working, bank accounts could disappear, etc.
    • brisk business in Y2K survival guides

5. Millennialism

    • unfortunately, cooler, calmer heads and scientists were
    • dismissed as being ‘head in the sand’ fools – and were
    • rarely heard from in the press
    • differing levels of fear, concern, preparation in response
    • to Y2K – everything from ignoring it, to stocking up on
    • cash, gas, water to retreating with guns, etc. in cabins in the
    • remote wilderness to live ‘off the grid’ until the world
    • returned to normal
    • hardcore believers in the Y2K apocalypse took several
    • forms: the “end of the world as we know it” types, the
    • Christian millenarians, the “Luddite survivalists”
    • softcore believers – no apocalypse, but brownouts, blackouts,
    • at the extreme but unlikely, meltdown

5. Millennialism

    • the cautious and worried – panic, get ready just in case
    • Y2K skeptics – minor problems, faith in science and
    • human ingenuity, we’ll get through this somehow
    • the official government position – leaning toward
    • hysteria – advising keep on hand a three-day supply of
    • food and water in their homes – but as the actual date
    • approached, calmer heads prevailed
    • The Chain of Beliefs – the domino effect; civil disorder and
    • rioting in the streets; ‘foreigners’ and terrorism; fear itself
    • of what was to come would create chaos without any
    • precipitating event; the predominance of rumour and the
    • role here of the mainstream media

5. Millennialism

    • Y2K, the “Prophets’ and the “Profits’ – make hay while the
    • sun shines – what role did they play in promoting panic
    • in a self-fulfilling prophecy?
  • note: what actually happened on January 1, 2000?
    • reactions to the ‘Great Disappointment’
    • analysis – emergent norm theory, value-added theory and
    • the individualist perspective (also sociocybernetic theory)
    • the definition of the situation and its importance

1. Administrative

    • all materials on website
    • password for website is cjrocks

2. Social Movements

    • a social movement is created when a group of people organize
    • in an attempt to encourage or resist some kind of social change
    • goal is usual to achieve some kind of political influence or
    • political power
    • social movements composed of ‘ordinary people’

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • social movements are usually made up of a number of
    • different organizations (e.g. the environmental preservation
    • movement – Greenpeace, Greens, Sierra Club, etc.) – also,
    • feminist movement, Gay Rights movement
    • some debate over social movements are another form of
    • collective behaviour, or a distinct form of ‘collective action’
    • in society

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • like other forms of collective behaviour, social movements
    • do represent group forms of ‘deviant’ or non-institutionalized
    • behaviour (e.g. passive resistance; protests; boycotts;
    • petitions), and emergent norm phenomena take place, social
    • strain is released, etc.

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • unlike other forms of collective behaviour social movements
    • are:
      • 1. organized – there is a division of labour, use of
      • resources, conscious decision to be a part of a social
      • movement, to devote time, possibly money
      • 2. deliberate – there are clear goals, plans to achieve these,
      • fund-raising, membership drives, publicity planning, etc.
      • 3. enduring – social movements are long-lasting, with
      • the goal of having their agenda become institutionalized,
      • as in the form of a bureaucratic organization (e.g. Nader’s
      • Raiders)

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • types of social movements
      • 1. alternative social movements – designed to create change
      • in the way people think or behaviour in relation to a
      • specific issue (e.g. DARE; animal rights movement)
      • 2. redemptive social movements – want to create a change,
      • but only in some individual’s lives (e.g. – Christian
      • fundamentalist missionaries; Jehovah’s Witnesses)
      • 3. reformative social movements – desire is to create change
      • on a broad scale, in an entire community or society –
      • both progressive (MADD; Gay Rights; suffrage)
      • and reactionary or countermovement (Ku Klux Klan;
      • the Weathermen; DAMM).

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • types of social movements
      • 4. revolutionary social movements – goal is to completely
      • destroy the old social order and replace it with a
      • new order (e.g. American/French revolution; IRA;
      • Russian Revolution, FLQ, etc.)

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • resistance to social movements – usually resistance
    • strongest from those who stand to lose the most if the
    • social movement is successful (e.g. gasoline engine
    • manufacturers; automobile manufacturers lobbying against
    • mass transit; anti-Kyoto movement)
      • 1. ridicule – can attempt to portray either movement
      • followers, or those in power as stupid, uninformed,
      • selfish – through use of cartoons, advertising, in
      • mass media – note the John Kerry incident

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

      • 2. co-opting – can take some component of the social
      • movement and bring it over to the opposing side –
      • for example, by (a) making up a name for the opposing side
      • that sounds very similar to that of the social movement
      • (e.g. the Greener Earth Society coalition of electricity
      • and utility companies) and (b) hiring way the social
      • movement’s leadership – the example of Candy Lightner,
      • founder of MADD being hired by the American Beverage
      • Institute; also, promotion into management of union
      • leadership

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

      • 3. formal social control – in the form of legitimate force used
      • to control demonstrations, ensure public order; in the use
      • of law and local ordinances/bylaws to control, hinder,
      • harass those involved in the social movement; and finally,
      • through the use of violence – as in use of violence by
      • police during civil rights movement; by pro-life
      • movement; by Ku Klux Klan; killing of Chinese
      • dissidents in Tiananmen Square

2. Social Movements (cont’d)

    • why social movements are important – because they are
    • an important source of social change in society – for example,
    • the Feminist Movement; Gun Control; Gay Rights;
    • ‘Child Savers’; Prohibition; MADD; Suffrage; Civil Rights;
    • anti-war movements; universal health care; etc.
    • social movements are an important source of political
    • representation in democratic societies, a form of ‘grass
    • roots’ political power, of new ideas

3. Social Movement Theories

    • can apply Turner and Killian, or Smelser here as well – but
    • there is another set of theories designed specifically to
    • explain how social movements develop and function
    • A. Mass Society Theory (Kornhauser, 1959)
    • the ‘mass society’ creates or spawns mass movements which
    • are essentially anti-democratic, driven by the ‘herd’ instinct
    • ‘mass movements’ are popular movements that operate
    • outside of and against the social order (e.g. Fascism, Nazism)

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • characteristics of mass society:
      • atomization – in a mass society, people are alienated
      • from one another, feel powerless, lack a sense of
      • purpose – which makes them vulnerable to engage
      • in any behaviour or movement that gives them a
      • sense of purpose, belonging
      • 2. access – in a mass society, citizens have too much
      • access and direct control over leaders, forcing leaders
      • to follow the whims of the populace if they want to
      • stay in power, catering to the preferences of the crowd –
      • as a result, leadership becomes irrational

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • characteristics of mass society:
      • 3. availability – in a mass society, the citizens are likewise
      • too available, too easily influenced by leaders, who
      • can sway large segments of the population through
      • appeal to emotions, prejudices, etc. - making it easy
      • to ‘whip up’ or ‘galvanize’ large groups quickly and
      • easily
      • 4. intermediate groups – in a mass society, there is a
      • lack of ‘intermediate groups’ through which the
      • individual can become involved in society, can have some
      • political influence, appreciate alternate points of
      • view (e.g. school parent groups; service clubs, Ducks
      • Unlimited, etc.) – in mass society, individuals have few
      • associations outside of the family and state-run, operated
      • organizations (e.g. Communist party)

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • mass movements are spawned by mass societies – mass
    • movements are extreme in their goals, and may be
    • violent and irrational in their methods of achieving goals
    • characteristics of mass movements:
      • (a) pay more attention to national and international
      • events than to local issues
      • (b) favour activism over diplomacy – take direct action
      • (c) unstable and fickle membership
      • (d) organized around clear purpose and goals
      • (e) independent thought, debate discouraged
      • (f) behave like a herd
      • (g) tend to arise during times of social crisis

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • mass societies and mass movements also
    • characterized by cultural legitimacy (tendency for everyone
    • to want the same things, behave the same way, think the
    • same thoughts) and psychological factors that make
    • individuals more susceptible to be highly suggestible, easily
    • manipulated and led (alienation, lack of self-esteem, lack of
    • a sense of purpose)
    • problem with Kornhauser’s mass society theory is that it
    • really only applies to one type of social movement – the
    • large scale, reactionary, destructive movements like
    • Fascism, Nazism, McCarthyism ,etc.

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • B. Relative Deprivation Theory (Denton Morrison, 1971)
    • ‘relative deprivation’ a term introduced by Samuel Stouffer
    • and Robert K. Merton – a situation where a person believes
    • they have less than they deserve
    • absolute deprivation – not having enough food to eat,
    • water, clothing shelter such that if these basic needs not
    • met, survival is threatened
    • relative deprivation – not having as nice a cottage as the
    • rest of the couples who are your friends, so you feel
    • let down, deprived in comparison to them
    • Durkheim – human beings have no satiation point for social
    • recognition rewards, status

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • B. Relative Deprivation Theory (Denton Morrison, 1971)
    • ‘relative deprivation’ a term introduced by Samuel Stouffer
    • and Robert K. Merton – a situation where a person believes
    • they have less than they deserve
    • absolute deprivation – not having enough food to eat,
    • water, clothing shelter such that if these basic needs not
    • met, survival is threatened
    • relative deprivation – not having as nice a cottage as the
    • rest of the couples who are your friends, so you feel
    • let down, deprived in comparison to them – them being
    • your ‘reference group’

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • Durkheim – human beings have no satiation point for social
    • recognition rewards, status
    • Morrison – two kinds of deprivation that can help to
    • drive social movements
        • – ‘decremental deprivation’ (where opportunities for
        • success have been reduced or blocked, through
        • no fault of the individual, as in an
        • economic recession/depression)
        • “aspirational deprivation’ (where people’s aspirations
        • and expectations rise, but their opportunities do not)
        • decremental deprivation tends to lead to conservative,
        • right-wing social movements; aspirational deprivation
        • leads to liberal, leftist social movements

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • Morrison – the key to understanding why relative deprivation
    • is such a motivating factor is in the concept of
    • ‘legitimate expectations’ – it is that people believe they have
    • a right to expect something, and that they deserve it – e.g.,
    • the StatsCan poverty index and the issue of computers
    • where legitimate expectations are blocked, this forms the
    • the basis for discontent, and social strain – people
    • experience ‘cognitive dissonance’, a split between what they
    • want and believe they deserve, and what they have – where
    • enough people experience this, and can communicate with
    • one another, this fosters the growth of a social movement

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • Morrison – ‘cognitive dissonance’ and growing discontent
    • over unmet expectations can be resolved in one
    • of four ways:
        • people can blame themselves for the failure
        • people by psychologically discount the blockage
        • people can change their situation
        • people can blame the system, and band together to
        • change it

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • Morrison social movements most likely to develop then when:
    • (a) a large segment of the population is experiencing the
    • the relative deprivation
    • (b) there is close proximity, interaction, communication
    • among those affected
    • (c) there is high ‘role and status commonality’ – the people
    • experiencing the deprivation are similar to one another
    • (d) the society has a rigid and obvious social stratification
    • system
    • (e) high presence of voluntary association activity in the
    • society (promotes interaction, political organization)

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • C. Resource Mobilization Theory – Oberschall (1973),
    • McCarthy and Zald, 1977)
    • focus on the political, economic factors underlying
    • development, functioning of social movements
    • it is the organization and leadership that make/break
    • social movements
    • ‘mobilization’ – the process of forming crowds, groups,
    • associations, and organizations for the pursuit of
    • collective goals

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • a social movement refers to the presence of beliefs in
    • a population that support social change (or in the case
    • of countermovements, that oppose change)
    • a social movement organization (SMO) is a complex or
    • formal organization that attempts to carry out the beliefs
    • of a social movement or countermovement (e.g. NAACP;
    • Sierra Club)

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • adherents – individuals and groups that believe in
    • the goals of the movement
    • conscience adherents – individuals who believe in the goals
    • of the movement, even though they will not personally benefit
    • constituents – adherents who actually provide resources
    • to the movement (time, money, labor, materials)
    • conscience constituents – people who help out SMO’s even
    • though they have nothing to gain
    • bystander publics – outsiders who don’t care about the\
    • movement
    • free-riders – bystanders who stand to benefit
    • opponents – those who try to block the movement

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

  • resources – these can be material (money, equipment, office
  • space, etc.) or non-material (political influence, moral support, etc.)
  • success or failure rides on leadfership and organization of
  • resources – organizing membership, resources, ensuring
  • commitment to goals, making sacrifices, overcoming resistance
  • leaders focus on mobilization, ‘manufacturing discontent’ ,
  • tactical decisions, and ensuring infrastructure for success is in
  • place

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

  • the most successful social movements are those that develop out
  • of existing, established social organizations
  • ‘professional social movement organizations’ are made up of
  • individuals that are professional reformers pursuing a career in
  • reform causes – for example, the full-time staff at Green Peace –
  • they tend to move from cause to cause as professionals – they
  • are experts in mobilizing resources through use of media,
  • direct mail campaigns, etc.

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

  • goals – successful social movement organizations manage to
  • convince a majority in society that the goals of the organization
  • are worthy, and need to be addressed (e.g. the Civil Rights
  • movement) - this may require use of mass media, public
  • sympathy campaigns (MADD)
  • success also rides on:
  • (1) turning free-riders into contributors
  • (2) overcoming organized opposition
  • (3) acquiring, mobilizing, managing resources
  • (4) use of focal points
  • (5) acceptance and ultimately institutionalization of the
  • movement

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

  • note the controversial political connotations of resource
  • mobilization theory, in particular with respect to the civil rights
  • movement

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

    • D. Political Process Theory (McAdam, 1982)
    • focus on the factors that allow ordinary citizens to form
    • their own social movements
    • critical of resource mobilization theory as being elitist
    • three factors responsible for success of social movements:
      • organizational strength
      • cognitive liberation (perception of the odds of success)
      • political opportunities (allies)

3. Social Movement Theories (cont’d)

  • McAdam – social movements are really political movements, as
  • they are really about power – rational attempts by ordinary
  • people to influence the political process to make social change
  • happen
  • the capacity to gain political influence is affected by:
  • - the open-ness of the political system
  • - the stability of the status quo
  • - the presence of allies among the status quo
  • - state capacity for repression