9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN25 Social Movements

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Outcomes of Activism Building I, 1E3

A model of failure and success for organising social movements

A model for failure and success for organising social movements

The paper concentrates on the failure and success of social movements from the viewpoint of organizing as well as on the role of the Internet in organizing and mobilisation. Two ideal types of organizing will be at the core of the paper.

The first one is called making organic, that is, social actors (for example, a social movement) are made organic parts of a harmonic whole. A certain kind of a functional role is given to social actors in this model. An example of the model of making organic is public involvement which refers to listening of the social actors of a civil society in public decision making. In this case the actors are invited to co-operate with public authorities. However, participating in this kind of organisational structures is often a kiss of death for social movements because they are demanded restrained behaviour by the political institutions instead of spontaneous action typical to social movements.

The second one emphasises experience as a starting point of action of social movements. Here ideas of John Dewey are utilized. My point is that social action is 'organised' around the problems the participants of the movements experience. The concepts of behaviour and action as well as empowerment and self empowerment/empowerment-as-enablement are essential for the failure and success of social movements. In this second part of the paper an attention is paid to the meaning of the Internet as a means enabling new options for organizing. I call my proposal of successful organising the deliberative organizing to which active politicizing is included and which the Internet may contribute.