Theorizing meaning construction in social movements: Symbolic structures and interpretation during the irish land war, 1879-1882
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Sociological Theory 15 (3):249-276 (1997)
Though the process of meaning construction is widely recognized to be a crucial factor in the mobilization, unfolding, and outcomes of social movements, the conditions and mechanisms that allow meaning construction and cultural transformation are often misconceptualized and/or underanalyzed. Following a "tool kit" perspective on culture, dominant social movement theory locates meaning only as it is embodied in concrete social practices. Meaning construction from this perspective is a matter of manipulating static symbols and meaning to achieve goals. I argue instead that meaning is located in the structure of culture, and that the condition and mechanism of meaning construction and transformation are, respectively, the metaphoric nature of symbolic systems, and individual and collective interpretation of those systems in the face of concrete events. This theory is demonstrated by analyzing, through textual analysis, meaning construction during the Irish Land War, 1879-1882, showing how diverse social groups constructed new and emergent symbolic meanings and how transformed collective understandings contributed to specific, yet unpredictable, political action and movement outcomes. The theoretical model and empirical case demonstrates that social movement analysis must examine the metaphoric logic of symbolic systems and the interpretive process by which people construct meaning in order to fully explain the role of culture in social movements, the agency of movement participants, and the contingency of the course and outcomes of social movements
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
P. Rubio Fernandez (2007). Suppression in Metaphor Interpretation: Differences Between Meaning Selection and Meaning Construction. Journal of Semantics 24 (4):345-371.
Elizabeth A. Armstrong & Mary Bernstein (2008). Culture, Power, and Institutions: A Multi-Institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements. Sociological Theory 26 (1):74 - 99.
Michael Esfeld (2001). How a Social Theory of Meaning Can Be Connected with Realism. Facta Philosophica 4:111-131.
Jeffrey C. Alexander (2004). Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance Between Ritual and Strategy. Sociological Theory 22 (4):527-573.
John Gibson (2006). Interpreting Words, Interpreting Worlds. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (4):439–450.
Paula Rothenberg (1990). The Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction of Difference. Hypatia 5 (1):42 - 57.
Stephen M. Engel (2001). The Unfinished Revolution: Social Movement Theory and the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Cambridge University Press.
Walter B. Gulick (1999). Beyond Epistemology to Realms of Meaning. Tradition and Discovery 26 (3):24-41.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads22 ( #79,412 of 1,102,836 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #24,603 of 1,102,836 )
How can I increase my downloads?