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Social Movements and NetworksRelational Approaches to Collective Action$
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Mario Diani and Doug McAdam

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251780

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199251789.001.0001

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Movement Development and Organizational Networks: The Role of ‘Single Members’ In the German Nazi Party, 1925–30

Movement Development and Organizational Networks: The Role of ‘Single Members’ In the German Nazi Party, 1925–30

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Movement Development and Organizational Networks: The Role of ‘Single Members’ In the German Nazi Party, 1925–30
Source:
Social Movements and Networks
Author(s):

Helmut Anheier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199251789.003.0003

Explores the role of individual activists in promoting the growth of political organizations. His findings on single members (i.e. members who operated in areas where there were no chapters and therefore acted as individual political entrepreneurs) of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s qualify some of the propositions of mass society theory regarding the mobilization of extremist politics. Early Nazi activists were not marginal, socially isolated persons but came from ordinary middle class backgrounds, and were embedded in organizational activities: the stronger their social networks, the higher their chances of establishing a local chapter of NSDAP. On the other hand, their linkages were all within the extreme right subculture and totally separated from mainstream politics. This is actually consistent with the claim that concentric social circles (i.e. densely knit clusters of ties with little outside ramifications) rather than intersecting ones generate a fragmented society and are therefore an obstacle to democratic politics.

Keywords:   activists, collective action, extreme right, Germany, mass society theory, Nazi party, political organizations, recruitment, social circles, social networks

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