Assignment: Pick a form of collective action under the pandemic(homelessness in nyc) is the topic, and research it. This form of collective action can be modest – a neighborhood or community self-help initiative or protest against a local injustice – or be as big in scale as the Black Lives Matter movement or the waves of strikes we are observing. I will share a more comprehensive handout when we come back from the break, but for now you can think about these questions as you identify your focus and begin researching it: *Identify the form of collective action you are focusing on. *What was/were/are the issues that inspired the people involved in this collective action? Did those goals change through the process of mobilizing? *If the group behind the collective action had demands, what were/are these demands and who were they aimed at? *What problems did the group face – both internally, and externally – when trying to mobilize? *How did they try to resolve those issues so as to successfully mobilize? *What was the response from those in power and (if applicable) the media to their efforts to organize? [Think about the concept of ideology] *To what extent have they been successful in achieving their goals? * Reflect on how this form of collective action made the link between what C. Wright Mills calls ‘personal troubles and public issues’.
Collective Action Assignment: Like all crises, the period of the pandemic has proven to be very fertile for forms of collective action, from protests, to movements, to local/community self-help groups. Collective action refers to action taken together by a group of people whose goal is to enhance their condition and achieve a common objective. ‘Collective action applies pooled resources to shared interests. In European social history, collective action has ranged from communal bread baking to electoral campaigns, from idol-smashing to revolution. Much collective action actually consists of conflict or cooperation, which imply two or more interacting parties. … Social historians and social scientists often reserve the term “collective action” for episodes engaging participants who do not routinely act together or who employ means of action other than those they adopt for day-to-day interaction. Collective action in this narrow sense resembles what other analysts call protest, rebellion, or disturbance. It differs from other collective action in being discontinuous and contentious: not built into daily routines, and having implications for interests of people outside the acting group as well as for the actors’ own shared interests. When those implications are negative we can speak of conflict, whereas when they are positive we can speak of cooperation. …Discontinuous, contentious collective action always involves third parties, often poses threats to existing distributions of power, and usually incites surveillance, intervention, and/or repression by political authorities.’ – “Collective Action .” Encyclopedia of European Social History. . Encyclopedia.com. 28 Mar. 2022 .
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