Power in Movement

Social Movements and Contentious Politics

Power in Movement

Unlike political or economic institutions, social movements have an elusive power, but one that is no less real. This study surveys the history of the social movement, puts forward a theory of collective action to explain its surges and declines, and offers an interpretation of the power of movement that emphasizes its effects on personal lives, policy reforms and political culture. While covering cultural, organizational and personal sources of movements' power, the book emphasizes the rise and fall of social movements as part of political struggle and as the outcome of changes in political opportunity structure. This second edition has an entirely new chapter, major additions to the bibliography, new illustrative materials in many of the chapters and a new conclusion.


"This is unquestionably a seminal work, one that lies fundamentally in the literature on social movements....an exceptionally rich synthesis and weaving together of research and literature on social movements..." Studies in Comparative International Development

"The brilliance of this book is the author's ability to transcend conventional schools of social movement analysis....It is difficult to see movements in the same light after reading this book." American Political Science Review