The following chapter provides an analysis of the collective behavior that deviates from society’s normative conduct. Firstly, it discusses the difference between collective action and social movement. In this regard, it is argued that the two concepts are different in three main aspects, which include the level of organization, time, and goal-setting. As such, social movements are more structured, active for a longer period, and usually have clearly defined goals compared to group action.
Moreover, the chapter describes the necessary components or preconditions that lead to a transformation of discontent into protest. In particular, the author(s) present(s) Smelser’s functional theory, which establishes six factors that, when existing together, can cause a social uprising. The first factor is labeled as structural conduciveness and implies that there is uncertainty and mistrust among people towards the dominant social structure, and they possess the means to communicate these sentiments to others. The second factor – structural strain – refers to people’s feelings that some aspect of social or political life lacks control and predictability. Next, it is also important that people unite under a common vision on how to address certain issues better. Additionally, some events should occur that would justify people’s discontent with the existing social structure. The fifth factor includes the appearance of certain individuals or groups that would mobilize and lead the protestors. Last but not least, the social movement is unlikely to appear when social control groups such as police or family interfere. Although Smelser’s framework is not the only existing explanation of riot appearance, it clearly indicates that social movements arise when several important preconditions are met.
Finally, the chapter under review elaborates on the rationality of the collective behavior that deviates from the expected one. The author(s) maintain(s) that there are two distinct views regarding this question. On the one hand, functionalists assert that people’s behavior in the groups and the group’s behavior as a whole is spontaneous and largely based on emotions. On the other hand, the supporters of collective action theory argue that individuals act rationally in the groups, but this rationality deviates from the dominant rules as protestors develop their own in-group norms.