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Movements have been studied as rational actors mobilizing resources and taking advantage of wider political opportunities to achieve their goals. This essay looks at the Resource Mobilisation and the Political Process Theories as ways of understanding social movements. A rational actor is someone/something that behave a certain way to maximizes their utility.  The Political Process Theory and the Resource Mobilisation Theory both share the same view of social movements as rational actors, mobilising resource in order to seek gains for their constituents. The political process theory is defined as “consistent but not necessarily formal, permanent, or national signals to social or political actors which either encourage or discourage them to use their internal resources to form social movements” (Tarrow 1996).The four main elements of the political process theory mentioned by McAdam (1996) are: “(1) the relative openness/ closure of the institutionalized political system; (2) the stability/ instability of that broad set of elite alignments that typically under gird a polity; (3) the presence/ absence of elite allies; and (4) the state’s capacity and propensity for repression”. Political process theory outlines that a social movement is more inclined to be successful when the government is vulnerable and unstable, and if the social movement shows that change is achievable. The resource mobilisation theory argues that the successfulness of a social movements depends solely on the resources available such as time, skills, money, and the ability to use these resources effectively to achieve certain goals (Crossman, 2017). These theories focus on variables that are sociological rather than psychological. Crossman (2017) argues that social movement are not viewed as irrational, emotional driven, and disorganised. Social movement were influenced from outside by support given from different organizations and also the ruling elite (government).Theorizing social movement using these theories and views can have both strengths and weaknesses which I will discuss throughout this essay.Social movements consists of three core elements; “a group of people with a conflictual orientation towards an opponent, a collective identity and a set of common beliefs and goals, and a repertoire of collective actions” (Kriesi, 2011).  These three elements describe the basis for social movements, in other words a social movement is the gathering of people who share the same view and what to achieve the same goals. According to Jenkins (1983): ” (1) movement actions are rational, adaptive responses to the costs and rewards of different lines of action; (2) the basic goals of movements are defined by conflicts of interest built into institutionalized power relations; (3) the grievances generated by such conflicts are sufficiently ubiquitous that the formation and mobilization of movements depend on changes in resources, group organization, and opportunities for collective action; (4) centralized, formally structured movement organizations are more typical of modem social movements and more effective at mobilizing resources and mounting sustained challenges than decentralized, informal movement structures; and (5) the success of movements is largely determined by strategic factors and the political processes in which they become enmeshed”. Having described a social movement, we can now look at the the theoretical models of social movements in order to examine the strength and the weaknesses. A model of social movements is the resource mobilization models that views social movements as rational actors, mobilising resources in order to seek gains for their constituents. This model mainly focuses on the organization and argues that a strong organization will lead to a more successful social movements. Another model of social movements is the political process model, which has the the same views as the resource mobilization model, however it differs slightly as it argues that social movements are political challenges. The political process theory limelights on the political opportunities made available when taking part in a social movement, this theory argues that it strengthens democracy.(Kriesi, 2011).  Comprehensively, the focus of the political process theory is, as with the resource mobilization theory, the organisation itself.

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