The Activist (32-65)

Preliminaries

Questions for Discussion (64)

  1. Why did early scholars of social movements think that protestors were alienated and irrational? How did subsequent scholars critique this view of protestors?
  2. What role do grievances—individual or collective—play in mobilizing people to join social movements? Why do many scholars argue that grievances are not sufficient to explain protest?
  3. How can biographical, social, or environmental conditions increase the chances of an individual being successfully mobilized into activism? Does this suggest anyone can become an activist and participate in protest? Why or why not?
  4. How might the challenges of retention be different from those of getting people to join a social movement in the first place?

Additional Analysis

  1. What material in this chapter came as no surprise to you (or seemed obvious)? What material did you find surprising (or not so obvious)? Explain your answers.
  2. What are three of the most important things we should know about "the activist"? Justify your selections.
  3. Use concepts and arguments in this chapter to characterize yourself as an activist. When, why, and how would/do you participate as an activist? At what point in the mobilization process (Fig. 2.2) would/do you drop out? Explain your responses.