Collective Action



Collective action is a fuzzy term, encompassing extremely variegated activities ranging from a young couple taking a honeymoon trip to armies engaging in warfare. Contrary to collective behaviour (e.g. panic) which is often taken synonymous to collective action, the latter term should be reserved for an intentional activity to reach a certain goal. And contrary to many forms of individual action, such as participating in a ballot, collective action requires a certain degree of coordination among the activists. While collective action, taken literally, would also include activities of highly institutionalised groups such as governments or executive boards of corporations, the term usually refers to activities of groups that are less institutionalised and less formalised.


Collective Action Political Party Social Movement Trade Union Western European Country 



I am grateful to Lee Ann Banaszak, Stefan Immerfall and Wolfgang Stuppert for their useful comments on earlier versions of this chapter.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WZB, Social Science Research CenterBerlinGermany

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