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New Social Movement Theories

Steven M. Buechler
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Summer, 1995), pp. 441-464
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4120774
Page Count: 24
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New Social Movement Theories
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Abstract

This article offers an overview and assessment of the utility of new social movement theories for analyzing contemporary forms of collective action. The article begins with a brief overview of the origins of new social movement theory and a description of some of the general tenets of this approach. Next, I consider the contributions of four major theorists (Castells, Touraine, Habermas, and Melucci) to this paradigm. The heart of the article provides a critical discussion of the central debates that have emerged within this paradigm. I then propose a typological distinction between "political" and "cultural" versions of new social movement theory. In the conclusion, I assess new social movement theory as a whole and situate the paradigm with reference to other paradigms for the study of social movements.

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