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How to be an activist : choreographing identity and community within social movement activism

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How to be an activist : choreographing identity and community within social movement activism

Fisher, Janel (2006) How to be an activist : choreographing identity and community within social movement activism. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis is about the creation and performance of identity and community within a specific animal rights activist organisation. More specifically, this thesis argues that the individual as a key player in the development of social activist ideologies needs to take a more central role in an academic approach to social movement theorising. Social movement activism has long been the subject of inquiry for many different academic disciplines and social movement theories, evolving from Marxist interpretations to New Social Movement theories, have all attempted to explain and examine these phenomena. However, how social movements and their participants have historically been represented across theoretical perspectives has come under criticism as overly homogenising. Primarily, the problem with this homogenous representation is that it does not fully reflect the complexities of both the organisations and the individuals involved in a particular social movement. While such presentations can make a comparative approach easier, it does not address the historical particularities and diversities existing among social movements across social, economic, and political borders. Combined with a preference on the presentation of a communal identity over the individual, I argue that social movement theorising needs to be re-focused making the individual more apparent and visible as a mover and shaper of change. This thesis attempts to locate the individual within a specific organisation within the more general animal rights movement. It is also addresses how they come to understand the role of community, as it exists on both physical and abstract levels. While in the process of actualising this sense of community and solidarity among themselves, individuals also negotiate and deal with tension, uncertainty, and contractions while coming to terms with their own individuality and ideologies. In the end, this thesis is about moving from a typical collective unit of analysis to a more difficult one, the individual

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Fisher, Janel
Pagination:iv, 199 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:2006
Thesis Supervisor(s):Amit, Vered
ID Code:9011
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:42
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:42
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