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Social Movements: An Organization Theory Perspective

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Abstract

The paper first reviews the available literature on social movements (SM). Following emerge: (1) Classical literautre on SMs have missed out or tended to ignore the organizational aspects of SMs (Section I) (2) The more contemporary literature on SMs do have organizational focus; however, their theorization is based on an inadequate understanding of SMs and its relationships with the relevant organization. Further, they do not justify why and how the collectives in question qualify to be deemed as organizations (Section II) Section III attempts to rectify the above lacunas, and in the process provide a theoretical framework for SMs with due (and very important) place for organization theory. It puts forth the concept of social movement Kernel (SMK), the core of any SM, that guides and leads a SM. Section IV seeks to establish that the SMK is indeed an organization, by comparing SMKs with various definitions of organizations, borrowed from the standard works in organization theory. This opens a wide gamut of possible theorization on SMK, and hence also on SM, because of the close relationship between the two. A preliminary attempt towards this is made in Section V, where ten propositions are put forth, mainly relating SMKs to SMs. The last Section (VI) seeks to briefly highlight the likely usefulness of the study.

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