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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Award shortlist success

Published: 30 June 2010 Origin:  Politics and International Relations

Dr Clare Saunders has been shortlisted for the British Journal of Sociology Prize. This newly established prize is to be awarded biennially to the paper, published in the highly prestigious BJS, which, in the opinion of the judges, makes an outstanding contribution to increasing sociological knowledge.

Clare’s paper, entitled 'Double-edged swords? Collective identity and solidarity in the environment movement' , published in 2008, questions conceptualisations of collective identity, and argues that, although it can unite activists within a single movement organisation, it is not always beneficial for the broader social movement. Although movements consist of networks of activists and organisations that have a broad shared concern, differing collective identities within the movement can actually be quite divisive. Based on case studies of three organisations in the environmental movement, Clare argues in the article that activists who are most committed to an organisation with an encompassing collective identity develop a strong sense of solidarity with other activists similarly committed to that organisation. The resultant solidarity leads to the construction of a ‘we-them’ dichotomy between organisations within the same movement, increasing the chances of hostility between organisations and factions within the movement.

The winner of the award will be announced in October 2009. Clare’s article can be accessed through the British Journal of Sociology publishers .

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