The Social Psychology of Collective Action

By Sara Breinlinger, Caroline Kelly

© 1996 – Taylor & Francis

240 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780748405114
pub: 1996-04-09
US Dollars$48.95
Hardback: 9780748405107
pub: 1996-04-09
US Dollars$95.00

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About the Book

In recent years there has been a growth of single-issue campaigns in western democracies and a proliferation of groups attempting to exert political influence and achieve social change. In this context, it is important to consider why individuals do or don't get involved in collective action, for example in the trade union movement and the women's movement.

Social psychologists have an important contribution to make in addressing this question. The social psychological approach directly concerns the relationship between the individual and society and a number of theories have been developed in the field, particularly by contemporary European researchers. Yet, surprisingly, there has never been, until now, a concerted attempt to bring these various strands of research together in a coherent, detailed presentation of the social psychological approach to collective action.

The authors of The Social Psychology of Collective Action review and integrate a number of theories developed in this field as well as presenting their own original research and data. The research discussed in the book ranges over a number of different contexts, with a particular focus on women's groups organizing around issues of gender. Questions addressed include: why do women get involved in women's groups? What part is played by experiences of discrimination in the family and in the workplace? What are the benefits of group involvement? How are feminist activists perceived by others who choose not to get involved? Findings from questionnaires and interviews are integrated with contemporary social psychological theory, especially social identity theory.


'This volume provides the reader with a useful review of previous psychological work on motivation to activism as well as an interesting example of a multimethodological original research project. their study gives us not only a better understanding of the motivations of activists and non-activists, it can also serve as a model for similarly ambitious projects with other populations.' - David A. Houston, University of Memphis

Table of Contents

Introduction. Social Psychological Approaches to Collective Action. Social Beliefs and Participation: Exploring Associations. Explaining Initial Involvement: Why Join Women's Groups? Outcomes of Participation. Explaining Non-activism. Conclusions. Appendixes. References. Index.

About the Series

European Monographs in Social Psychology

The European Monographs in Social Psychology series is published in conjunction with the European Association of Social Psychology, to support authored books for advanced students covering social topics that promote a European intellectual perspective to the rest of the world.

The aim of this series is to publish and promote the highest quality of writing in European social psychology, and provide an outlet for new research in the field. At a time when cultural and political frontiers in Europe are being redrawn, there could hardly be a more appropriate time to promote a distinctively European intellectual perspective to the rest of the world. The editor and the editorial board encourage publications which approach social psychology from a wide range of theoretical perspectives and whose content may be applied, theoretical or empirical.

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