Using social network analysis to explore social movements: a relational approach

Saunders, Clare (2007) Using social network analysis to explore social movements: a relational approach Social Movement Studies, 6, (3), pp. 227-243. (doi:10.1080/14742830701777769).


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This paper uses a 'relational' approach to network analysis to demonstrate the linkages between different types of environmental organizations in London. A 'relational' approach was used to avoid problems associated with 'positional' approaches such as structural determinism, subjectively defined and misleadingly labelled blocks of 'approximately' equivalent actors, and reification of the action/issue basis of networks. The paper also explores definitions of social/environmental movements. Whilst broadly agreeing with Diani's consensual definition of a social movement, it argues that we need to be much more precise about the type and intensity of networking required; it must be more than informal or cursory, and should bind individuals and organizations into collaborative networks. Evidence from a survey of 149 environmental organizations and qualitative interviews with key campaigners suggests that whilst many organizations might share information, it is often stockpiled or ignored, hardly creating the kinds of network links that might lead to shared movement identity. The kinds of links that do bind movements are collaborative. In practice, in the environmental movement in London, conservationists tend neither to share information nor to engage in the collective action events of reformist or radical organizations, suggesting that conservationists should perhaps not be considered part of the movement.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/14742830701777769
ISSNs: 1474-2837 (print)
Keywords: environmental movement, social movements, social network analysis, collective identity
ePrint ID: 55050
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:45
Further Information:Google Scholar

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