Elgar original reference
Edited by Hein-Anton van der Heijden
Chapter 1: Introduction: linking political citizenship and social movements
From the early days of modern social science onwards, political citizenship and social movements have been core concepts in analyzing major social changes. The anti-slavery movement in the USA, the nineteenthand early twentieth-century labor movements in Western Europe, and the first feminist wave on both sides of the Atlantic, for instance, have not only functioned as pivotal to analyzing the striving for all different kinds of human (citizenship) rights, but also as paradigmatic examples for defining and explaining major transformations in the social and political world. Almost five decades ago, Western society (and numerous parts of global society as well) found itself on the eve of one of the most turbulent episodes in modern history. Apart from sociologists like James Scott and Charles Tilly with strong roots in the practice of social history, most contemporary social movement scholars have taken the late 1960s as the starting point for their research endeavors (e.g., Tarrow, 1994; McAdam et al., 1996; Della Porta and Diani, 2006). Actually, it was also around that time that ‘social movement studies’ established itself as a kind of subdiscipline in contrast to previous studies of collective action, which, rather, took concepts like ‘alienation’, ‘mass behavior’ or ‘relative deprivation’ as their starting point. In the 1960s, black students staged sit-in demonstrations throughout the American South, sit-ins that in their turn would revitalize not only a moribund civil rights movement but also the tradition of leftist activism dormant in America since the 1930s.