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Democracy in the MakingHow Activist Groups Form$
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Kathleen M. Blee

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199842766

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199842766.001.0001

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Who Belongs?

Who Belongs?

(p.52) Chapter 3 Who Belongs?
Democracy in the Making

Kathleen M. Blee

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how emerging activist groups develop an organizational character as they wrestle with issues of belonging, membership, and recruitment. It explains how activist groups decide who they are able to recruit and who they want to recruit, as well as how they create expectations for what members are expected to do. The chapter shows how an early emphasis on recruiting fades away as groups adjust their goals to their existing membership size and become wary of newcomers. The chapter ends with a comparison of a civil liberties and anti-war group that started as a single group with considerable overlap among members. Members of one group developed a sense of responsibility and commitment that sustained them through difficult times. In the other, members played an increasingly minor role in shaping the group=s direction and it quickly lost momentum

Keywords:   recruit, membership, belonging, activism, anti-war, civil liberties, organizational character, social movement

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