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Stephen C. Wright

In: The SAGE Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination

Chapter 35: Collective Action and Social Change

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Collective Action and Social Change
Collective action and social change

Social psychology's primary approach to improving intergroup relations has been prejudice reduction. However, this chapter reviews the discipline's contributions to an alternative approach collective action and social protest. Informed by Relative Deprivation Theory and rooted in Social Identity Theory, the chapter describes four psychological processes that underpin collective action: collective identity, perceived boundary permeability, feelings of legitimacy/injustice, and collective control (instability/agency). These four emerge through a process of mutual influence to motivate collective action or to steer the individual towards inaction or individual efforts to improve one's personal position. In addition, brief discussions will highlight several recent important additions to the literature, and the chapter concludes by contrasting the psychology of collective action with that of ...

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