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Moral reflexivity and dramaturgical action in social movement activism: The case of the Plowshares and Animal Rights Sweden
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2179-4981
Mälardalens högskola.
2012 (English)In: Social Movement Studies, ISSN 1474-2837, E-ISSN 1474-2829, Vol. 11, no 1, 41-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Drawing on Durkheim's sociology of morality, which identifies ideals and norms as the key components of morality, this article outlines a theoretical model for understanding how social movements can bring about legitimate social change. Social movement activists, we propose, can be conceptualized as followers and pursuers of sacred ideals. As such, they frequently come into conflict with existing norms in society. To manage this dilemma, activists must downplay their role as norm breakers while emphasizing their identity as followers of ideals. This in turn requires moral reflexivity in the staging of collective action. The article shows how dramaturgical control (Goffman) is exercised towards this end among activists engaged in two social movements in Sweden: the Plowshares peace movement and Animal Rights Sweden. The article further examines the internal stratification, or ‘moral hierarchies’, within the two activist groups in the light of the proposed model. The closer the activists were able to adhere to the sacred ideal, the higher the social status they enjoyed within the group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 11, no 1, 41-60 p.
Keyword [en]
animal rights movement, Durkheim, Goffman, morality, Plowshares movement, social movment
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-17426DOI: 10.1080/14742837.2012.640529ISI: 000209054300003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84857252009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-17426DiVA: diva2:573874
Projects
Från apati till aktivism: Medborgerliga identiteter och reaktioner på det politiska
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2007-8782
Available from: 2012-12-03 Created: 2012-12-03 Last updated: 2016-10-06Bibliographically approved

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