Movement in Context: Thick Networks and Japanese Environmental Protest

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

35 Scopus citations


Presents a case for a network version of the concept of political opportunity structure, focusing on environmental movement activity in eight communities in Japan. Embeddedness in specific networks shapes political action much more strongly in densely knit societies like Japan than in Western, individualistic societies; in Japan, networks operate mostly in terms of block recruitment rather than individual recruitment, and this holds for both movements and local elites. In particular, vertical ties between elites and citizen strongly shape local political opportunities: it is the presence of 'breakaway bosses' (i.e. local leaders who take the protesters' side) to prove the strongest predictor of success for collective action. The chapter also presents a distinctive theoretical framework, Integrative Structurational Analysis, to link structure and agency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Movements and Networks
Subtitle of host publicationRelational Approaches to Collective Action
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191599057
ISBN (Print)9780199251780
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003


  • Agency
  • Block recruitment
  • Collective action
  • Environmental movement
  • Japan
  • Local elites
  • Political opportunity structure
  • Social movements
  • Structure


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