In this concluding chapter, we have two aims: First, to bring together some main themes from the empirical findings; and second, to explore some links between social identity and social movements.
Evidence from both trade union and gender contexts suggests that collective action is commonly seen as inappropriate in 1990s Britain. Despite previous research discussed in Chapter 6 which suggests that people may not actually be any more individualistic in their general outlooks than previously, the present research shows that there is a common perception that collective means of achieving change are no longer effective. In the trade union context, respon dents referred to the defeat of the 1984-85 miners’ strike, which continues even ten years on to symbolize the perceived weakness of the trade union movement and the power of the State. In the gender context, many respondents argued that women’s groups and campaigns seem powerless in the present political climate. In both contexts, many argued that individual mobility is currently a more effective and appropriate way of bringing about social change and, in the gender context in particular, respondents referred to the value of role models and networking.