Review Essay: Change of Paradigms in the Research on Social Movements

Katharina Gajdukowa


Because of the strict separation between biography and politics, the research of social movements has reached its limits. The biographical perspective can introduce a productive combination of biography and politics, private and public space into the research of social movements. Individual and collective change always have to be seen in correlation with each other. The volume describes scientific flexibility and the need for this scientific approach, presenting case studies of transformation processes in Germany, Poland, Russia, China and the USA. The case studies include a variety of pressure groups such as the peace movement, women's rights, exiles, trade unions and right-wing extremists. The issues treated include the relation between the public and the private space in the context of political activity, the interrelation between social change and change within the family and the relationship between generations—in terms of politics and the processes that provide the motivation for the individual to participate in social movements. The volume attempts to contribute to a change of paradigms in the research of social movements. Ingrid MIETHE and Silke ROTH accomplish this aim, presenting a well-chosen and balanced choice of theoretical and empirical contributions, stretching the limits of the traditional research of social movements.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0204488


biographical research; research of social movements; political socialization; hermeneutic case reconstruction; documentary method of interpretation; narrative interview

Copyright (c) 2002 Katharina Gajdukowa

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