Edward Tarrow: Social Movements, Collective Action And Politics

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Tarrow (1994) uses the text Power In Movement. Social Movements, Collective Action and Politics, as an addition to the literature on collective movement, using perspectives from sociology, political science, history and anthropology to further his work. The author highlights that many times in history, ordinary people have taken steps to exercise influence on politics by acting collectively, in other words” there is “power in movement”. In his text, Tarrow poses the following research question; under what conditions do social movements occur? Is the influence of such movements “real” or are they just an “illusion”? Are there similarities in the power dynamics in such movements? This are the questions at the heart of the text. Defining social movements "collective challenges, based on common purposes and social solidarities, in …show more content…
Tarrow claims that his explanation of participation in collective movement escapes the logical quagmire of free-ridership. However, we should remember that the free-rider problem arises solely because neoclassical economics assumes the lone motivation of the self. Within this unidimensional behavioral assumption of the Homo economicus, the showing of other incentives will not get us out of the free-rider problem. For a theoretical explanation of collective action, we must enlarge the fundamental assumption of human rationality. If one accepts commitment, ideology, or group utility based on collective identity as valid motivations for rational action, the free-rider problem ceases to

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