The impact of 'relational structures' upon collective action : A comparison of unemployment and asylum in New Labour Britain
Working Paper : 23
This paper gives an original twist to main theories of mobilisation and collective action through the use of conceptual and methodological tools of network analysis in order to explore the notion of ‘relational structures’. It emphasises that inter-organisational exchanges specific to the political or sub-political issue field within which collective actors mobilise and interact have an important impact upon collective action. This paper focuses on the study of this specific impact. In particular, it constructs a conceptual space of relational structures, which leads to the formulation of a series of hypotheses about the development of collective action across different fields. Relevant patterns of collective action are then matched with empirical findings on relational structures in the two fields of asylum and unemployment in Britain, providing an initial positive assessment of the overall framework, and hence, opening space for further empirical testing and theoretical refinement.