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Women in WarThe Micro-processes of Mobilization in El Salvador$
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Jocelyn Viterna

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199843633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199843633.001.0001

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Micro-Level Processes of Mobilization

Micro-Level Processes of Mobilization

(p.40) 3 Micro-Level Processes of Mobilization
Women in War

Jocelyn Viterna

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces a new theory of micro-level mobilization that challenges and extends the more common macro- and meso-level approaches to social movement studies. Rooted in the concept of identity, the theory allows scholars to capture and explain individual-level variations in how people participate across three key moments of a social movement: initial mobilization, on-going participation, and re- or de-mobilization. Social movement organizers regularly use emotion-laden narratives to target specific identities for recruitment. Individuals are most likely to accept these invitations when a shifting macro-level context—conceptualized as an “arena”—re-shapes their network memberships and encourages the expansion of their existing identities. Once mobilized, movements assign participants to different tasks, and limit the number and kind of social ties they can form, thus structuring how their identities might change through participation. Finally, the different identities developed through initial mobilization and on-going participation interact in the post-movement environment to determine whether a participant will remain politically active after the initial social movement ends (re-mobilization), or will eschew future political participation (demobilization). The chapter concludes that capturing individual-level variations across participants will improve scholars’ answers to central questions like why social movements begin, how they endure, and whether they change the societies they target.

Keywords:   Micro-level Mobilization, Theory, Identity, Social Movement, Social ties, Networks, Emotions, Arenas, Narratives, Recruitment

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