Social Movement Strategy, Tactics, And Collective Identity

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Sociology Compass


Tactical choices and their execution are closely related to the construction of collective identities in social movements. Studying collective identity has helped scholars understand why people participate in collective action, but the array of tactics that constitute action has not been fully explored. An emerging interest in culture and strategy that situates social movement actors in a field of contention with opponents, allies, and bystanding publics raises questions about the tactics that are used and the construction of collective identity, which is formed in interaction with others. Strategies and tactics reflect collective identities but also provide opportunities for reaffirming or challenging them. Innovative methods can create tension as activists work to resolve what they do with who they feel they are. Conflict studies, nonviolent action studies, and sociological research using concepts such as framing, discourse, protest events, and tactical repertoires offer tools with which to bridge tactics and collective identity.