From Individual Indignation to Collective Action: Reopening the Question for Current Analysis of Social Movements

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Julia HERNANDEZ GUTIERREZ, University of Louvain, Belgium
Even though questions about what allows or dissuades an individual to get into the streets and join a collective action have already been assessed by authors like Olson, Gramsci and others, in this paper we discuss what mobilizes an individual in our time. Since parameters of class, age, gender and other sociodemographic characteristics are no longer the unique features that define an individual’s life, as Touraine or Martuccelli argue, and since Rational Choice theories have been strongly questioned by diverse approaches, we propose that is necessary a revision of what could current sociological theory say about individual motivations and practical capabilities that influence participation in collective action. We argue that sociology of social movements could be enriched if we look closer to the individual motivations and obstacles, and to the individual comprehension of what is fair and unfair, what kind of grievance makes people to feel outraged, and what are the possible actions to do after having been mistreated, according to him or her. The principal aim of this paper is to discuss what is in the middle of an individual indignation and the conformation of a collective action, emphasizing the fact that one thing does not drive automatically to the other one. We will explore some classic sociological responses that have tried to fill this gap and some more recent theories that could help us to refresh our approaches, considering that current social movements analysis may need to reconcile classic and recent theories, micro and macro sociological perspectives, and utilitarian and non-utilitarian visions of people’s motivations.