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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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How Should We Treat Each Other?

How Should We Treat Each Other?

(p.109) Chapter 5 How Should We Treat Each Other?
Democracy in the Making

Kathleen M. Blee

Oxford University Press

Expressions of friendship, respect, and fairness unify emerging activist groups and attract new recruits, while friction among members can fracture groups or leave activists feeling betrayed, frustrated, and angry. These make up a group=s interpersonal character. Activist groups rarely discuss openly how people treat each other although activists widely concur on how their group Afeels.≅ This chapter explains how emerging activist groups create implicit conventions about how members should interact. It traces what happens when groups lose a sense that dysfunctional dynamics can be changed and shows how this can be restored. The chapter concludes by comparing different interpersonal outcomes in an animal rights and an environmental group. Although the groups were identical in many ways B their members were almost all young, progressive, highly educated, and white and a number of people were members in both groups B they took quite different interpersonal paths. One became inclusive, Afun,≅ tightly-knit, and supportive; the other adopted a rigid, sober, and tense emotional style.

Keywords:   dynamics, dysfunctional, friction, activism, interpersonal, emotion, process, animal rights, environmentalism, social movements

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