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Decompartmentalizing the sociology of activist commitment. A critical survey of some recent trends in French research - F. Sawicki, J. Siméant

Frédéric Sawicki
UMR CNRS 8026, centre d’études et de recherches administratives, politiques et sociales (Ceraps), faculté des sciences juridiques, politiques et sociales, université de Lille II, BP 629, 1, place Déliot, 59024 Lille cedex, France

Johanna Siméant
UMR CNRS 8056, département de science politique, CRPS, université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, 14, rue Cujas, 75321 Paris cedex 05, France

Available online 27 July 2010 on ScienceDirect

This article is a critical survey of a field of research that for 20 years has been particularly active in France and is once again gaining momentum : the sociology of activist commitment. An outcome of this sociological current was the inter-actionist paradigm, i.e. how activists’ careers are embarked upon and evolve. The notion of how to reward activism has been refined and reconsidered. Theoretical debates relating to the surfacing – or not – of “new forms” of activism – or even “new activists” – are replaced in perspective and the two challenges that confront research today stressed. Both concern the social division of labor : how to account more thoroughly for the link between macro-social transformations and individual commitment, on one hand, how organizations are instrumental in formatting activism, on the other.

Keywords : Activism ; Commitment ; Division of labor ; Organizations ; Professionalization ; Political parties ; Social movements ; Associations ; France

Article Outline

  • 1. A healthy renewal of the sociology of activist commitment
    • 1.1. The advent of the interactionist paradigm
    • 1.2. A fresh look at “remunerations”
    • 1.3. Activist careers : commitment as process
    • 1.4. New activists, new forms of activism
  • 2. Challenges facing the sociological research of commitment
    • 2.1. Micro/macro : a social division of labor and activist investments
    • 2.2. Micro-meso : the organizational moulding of activism
  • References

Sociologie du Travail
Volume 52, Supplement 1, August 2010, Pages e83-e109
Translation : Gabrielle Varro