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Hank Johnston

Subject Sociology » Social Movements

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Mobilization is a basic concept in the study of social change, protest, and social movements. It captures the processes by which groups and resources are transformed from a state of quiescence, non‐involvement, and inconsequence to availability, application, and influence in the social, political, and economic life of the broader community. In current practice the term most commonly refers to activating, marshaling, and putting to use groups and material resources – and often cultural resources – to achieve the success of a collective effort or campaign. So basic and general is the concept of mobilization that it has remained central in the study of protest and social movements despite major theoretical shifts in the field. These shifts have changed the concept's emphasis and application, but not the fundamental principle that in order for disparate and previously uncoordinated individuals and groups successfully to work together to achieve a goal or a collective good, mobilization is necessary. Thus, it is worth noting that Mobilization is also the title of the major peer‐reviewed research journal in the field of protest and social movement studies. Theoretical perspectives current during the 1960s and 1970s, grouped under the rubric of collective behavior approaches, emphasized spontaneous and individual‐level mobilization. Later, resource mobilization and political‐process ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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