Mawell Review, 1996, Vol. 4(1): 61 - 69
REVISING THE RESOURCE MOBILIZATION THEORY
--- A REEXAMINATION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
Wei-Der Shu, Department of Sociology, Syracuse University
To proponents of the resource mobilization theory in the sociological field of social movements, there exist three basic assumptions relevant to social movements --- rationality based on the utilitarian logic, the significance of resources, and the critical role played by external sponsors. After examining the empirical evidence relating to the civil rights movement provided by Piven and Cloward, I re-evaluate the validity of these assumptions and suggest some modification of the resource mobilization theory: (1) adoption of both rationality and normative orientation as the basic assumption of movement participation; (2) introduction of the concept of precondition, including political opportunity structure and cultural climate structure; (3) distinction between material resources and nonmaterial resources; (4) emphasis on indigenous organizations; (5) consideration of the role of accident in the formation of movements.