How to capture mobilization processes at the intergroup level of a social movement? Development and application of a Network Mobilization Model to the Japanese anti-nuclear movement after Fukushima

Anna Wiemann


Following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture, Japan experienced a wave of social movement activity not seen since the 1960s. While it is relatively easy to observe movement activities that take place on the streets and in other publicly open spaces, the mobilization processes leading to such manifest activities - in most cases joint activities by a number of movement organizations - remain difficult to capture. Based on premises from political process theory, network theory, and relational sociology, I developed an analytical model to trace mobilization processes of a social movement network or coalition from its antecedents (latent civic and movement structures and coalition-building process) to its actual network characteristics. These network characteristics relate to its outcomes in the form of a joint action profile (common project/goal and joint action repertoire). The Network Mobilization Model allows the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods in data collection and analysis. The application of the Network Mobilization Model to the case of two chosen network-coalitions in the Japanese anti-nuclear movement after Fukushima shows that it represents a way not only to bring societal, political, and historical contexts into the analysis but also to relate these contexts to the patterns of activity of social movements today.

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