Social Movements and the Rationality of Choice



The problem of collective action was discussed early on in the debate on social movements. From a rational choice perspective we cannot expect an actor to contribute to a public good. Social movements usually produce public goods and therefore it is a specific challenge to explain their existence from a rational choice perspective. Annette Schnabel reconstructs the debate and discusses proposed theoretical solutions within this paradigm, namely iteration, reputation, selected incentives, and threshold models. Future debates will have to address the role of movement aims and ideology, and the role of emotions. While the empirical importance of these aspects is undisputed, their theoretical role is unclear.


Collective Action Rational Actor Social Movement Rational Choice Common Good 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany

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