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24Mar2016

PROBLEMS OF BELONGING

Part of the work of social movements is creatng their own solidarity as a movement.  Constituents (those whose solidarity is the principal object of such work) and adherents (those whose solidarity is not) are differently positioned with respect to the work. The question is whether, when and how that matters.

In my research project Other People’s Struggles, I try and develop a theory to answer it.

Among other things, solidarity is built through doing, sharing and feeling the same things together. So adherents may throw themselves into the work of the movement, sometimes with an startling intensity. But can they feel the same things? The theory of emotions in social movements suggests that movements bind themselves together with feelings. But the emotional registers of adherents and constituents may differ in ways which weaken solidarity.