Mobilizing in Black Boxes
Social Networks and Participation in
Social Movement Organizations

by James A. Kitts


Recent research has focused on the role of social networks in facilitating individuals' participation in protest and social movement organizations. This paper elaborates three currents of microstructural explanation, based on information, identity, and exchange. In evaluating these perspectives, the paper compares their robustness to multivalence, the tendency for social ties to inhibit as well as promote participation. Considering two dimensions of multivalence - the value of the social tie and the direction of social pressure - this paper discusses problems of measurement and interpretation in network analysis of movement participation. This critical discussion suggests some directions for further research and theory.

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