Overview of Social Movement Theories and a Proposed
Over the past several decades political scientists and sociologists have offered a variety of theories and empirical research to enhance our understanding of collective behavior. The focus of political science has been primarily on the relations between social movements and political parties, and the function of social movements in relation to agenda setting and infl uence on the polity (Chapters 5 and 6 will address these dynamics in detail). The main emphasis within sociology has been an attempt to explain the emergence and timing of social movements, the social and political context in which they develop, recruitment efforts, the mobilization of resources, and outcomes/consequences of collective behavior. Recently, sociologists, as well scholars of communication studies, have added to the literature by exploring how new information communication technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet and other forms of digital media, are being used to organize and mobilize activists across a host of issues at both the global and local level. There is general consent among social movement theorists that this latter development requires new theoretical examination.