Collective Action of Proactive Peoples United in a New Social Change Movement


Collective actions are a term for “actions taken by two or more people in pursuit of the same collective good.” While some collective actions have already resulted in influencing public opinion or policies, there are many other examples of collective actions failing to bring about change. Let’s not allow this one to pass-by us.

We can see the growth of relatively inexpensiv digital collaborative networks has resulted in new capabilities for exchanges of information and opinions between collective action organizers and interested citizens. Social media has provided space for both activists and citizens to express dissatisfaction with the status quo and abuse of power by political leaders in their country and thus to create a collective identity against oppression and around resistance.

Digital communication technologies have enabled mobilization of individuals seeking common goals and influenced how organizations identify and select activists who are considered beneficial to collective action. It is important to understand both structural conditions and behavioral aspects and interactions between the two in analyzing collective actions in the networked information age.

Internet-based information and communication technologies have brought about important changes in our society, particularly with regard to producing and sharing information and knowledge. These underlying changes have significant implications for collective actions for social change. There exists several many examples one may find showing us how popular social media platforms have facilitated the creation and dissemination of collective action messages at the individual level.

This, in bringing the present discourse about collective action tactics and movement, has brought up a much broader discussion of the relationship between prejudice reduction and collective action.

Although these two general areas of social psychological study share an underlying interest in reducing the group disparities and the injustices faced by members of disadvantaged social groups, there are numerous differences inherent in these two approaches. Prejudice reduction has been primarily about members of the dominant group, where collective action has been almost exclusively about subordinate groups. Whereas prejudice reduction focuses on the thoughts and feelings in the heads of individuals as the source of discrimination and injustice, collective action research sees structural inequality between groups as the source. Prejudice reduction is generally associated with concerns for harmony, conflict reduction, and positive regard for the out-group.

A collective action perspective sees conflict and competition between groups as instrumental. These different perspectives have very likely contributed to the relative isolation of these two areas of research, but as the current analyses shows it may be time to confront the contradictions that arise when these two strategies are consider simultaneously. Doing so may expose important misunderstandings as well as solution that expand our understanding of both processes and improve the effectiveness of the strategy we propose. Despite the contradictions, it is likely that in the end prejudice reduction and collective action are both necessary for the building of a more just and egalitarian society.

Reference

Identity, C. (2009). The struggle for social equality: Collective action versus prejudice reduction. Intergroup Misunderstandings: Impact of Divergent Social Realities, 291.

Seo, H. (2019, January). Collective Action in Digital Age: A Multilevel Approach. In ‘Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences’.


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