Over the past three decades, there has been a rising concern about the ability of social theories to address the idea-construction (ideational) processes in social and political movements. This article argues that in spite of the recent growing emphasis on the cognitive dimension of collective action, many theoretical attempts and the studies influenced by them evidence significant shortcomings in explaining the (trans)formation of ideas and ideologies in social movements. These shortcomings stem from a failure at the metatheoretical level, that is, their failure to hold an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to comprehending the relation between changing social structures, dynamic patterns of experience and the social consciousness of actors. In proposing a solution, the article starts with defining the ideational landscape of social movements by introducing the concept of 'activist knowledge'. Then, it will argue for the necessity of developing an integrative, interdisciplinary, meta-theoretical framework through a radical reconstruction of old metaphors like agency and structure in the light of the recent global changes.
|Keywords:||Social Movements, Activism, Sociology of Knowledge, Critical Realism, Ideology, Globalization|
Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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