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Strategies for Social Change$
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Gregory M. Maney, Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum, and Deana A. Rohlinger

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816672899

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816672899.001.0001

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Thinking about Strategy

Thinking about Strategy

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Thinking about Strategy
Source:
Strategies for Social Change
Author(s):

David S. Meyer

Suzanne Staggenborg

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816672899.003.0001

This chapter discusses how resources, mobilization structures, political opportunities, and the dynamics of contention influence strategy. A report examined here about an animal rights protest exhibits several elements of social movement strategy. First, strategy includes decisions about tactics, claims, targets, and alliances; second, the intervention of state authorities changes the available options for everyone; third, movements are not unitary actors; and fourth, strategic decisions are debatable. The chapter offers a theoretical framework for understanding and evaluating social movement strategy, highlights the constraints that activists face in making strategic decisions, and maintains that strategic decisions are shaped by interactions among groups of participants. It depicts the overall complexity and emotionality of strategic choice, as well as the ongoing interactions involved in collective action.

Keywords:   resources, mobilization structures, political opportunities, social movement strategy, strategic decisions, collective action

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