The social movement literature in Western Europe and North America has oriented much of its theoretical work towards micro-, meso-, and macro-level examinations of its subject of study but has rarely integrated these levels of analysis. This review article broadly documents the leading theoretical perspectives on social movements, while highlighting the contributions made in recent years with regard to the wave of protests across the globe - typified by the Occupy movement and the ‘Arab Spring' - and grievances that are relatively novel in qualitative or quantitative form such as austerity, precarity, and a sense of democratic deficiency. While these novel social processes have invigorated the specialized arena of ‘social movement studies' and generated a resurgence of work on social movements beyond the field, we argue for the need to interconnect levels of analysis in order to develop a more insightful account of contemporary contentious politics.
Bibliographical noteEugene Nulman & Raphael Schlembach, Advances in social movement theory since the global financial crisis, European Journal of Social Theory. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
- financial crisis
- social movement studies
- levels of analysis
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