Week 11 – Emily Thibodeau

Snow’s “Social Networks & Social Movements: A Microstructural Approach to Differential Recruitment” focuses on why some people are recruited into organizations versus others. He argues that proximity, availability, and interaction with members impacts movement members recruitment. While social ties are important to recruitment in some organizations, less social ties may create a greater ability for individuals to participate in movements that demand much of an individuals time. Additionally, some organizations are able to recruit easily from members ties, groups such as political groups that do not demand much of members times make it easy for new members to recruit friends. For other organizations, recruitment from public venues takes place because the organizations demand exclusive participation from members, thus it is difficult for members to bring in friends from the outside, as they may spend a majority of their time with the other members. Additionally, groups that are linked to other groups appreciate higher membership numbers and quicker growth.

Kruzman’s “Structural Opportunity & perceived Opportunity in Social-Movement Theory: The Iranian Revolution of 1979” discusses an example of a movement that is contrary to general social-movement theory. In the Iranian revolution, he argues, the state was not really vulnerable to popular political pressure, however the public did see an opportunity for change but only mobilized en masse when victory seemed most likely. Many of the previously cited examples of state vulnerability were not actually true, and may not have contributed to the perception of weakness citizens believed the saw.

Both articles discuss how social movements grow, Snow focusing on the specific ways in which organizational types can recruit. Kurzman focuses on a single conflict and the ways in which the citizens became participants. However, Kurzman focuses on the impact that the state can have on creating opportunities for public movements to take hold. Snow does not focus on structural opportunity to the same extent, focusing more on personal ties that Kurzman ignores. Overall, to what extent do Snow’s proposals seem accurate in modern social movements, given the use of social media for social networking?

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