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Specifying the Relationship Between Social Ties and Activism

Doug McAdam and Ronnelle Paulsen
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 99, No. 3 (Nov., 1993), pp. 640-667
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781286
Page Count: 28
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Specifying the Relationship Between Social Ties and Activism
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Abstract

Much empirical work in the social-movements literature has focused on the role of social ties in movement recruitment. Yet these studies have been plagued by a troubling theoretical and empirical imprecision. This imprecision stems from three sources. First, these studies are generally silent on the basic sociological dynamics that account for the reported findings. Second, movement scholars have generally failed to specify and test the precise dimensions of social ties that seem to account for their effects. Finally, most studies fail to acknowledge that individuals are embedded in many relationships that may expose the individual to conflicting pressures. This article seeks to address these shortcomings by means of an elaborated model of recruitment that is then used as a basis for examining the role of social ties in mediating individual recruitment to the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project.

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