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However, differences in those criteria only partiallyoverlap with conventional wisdom about the real or presumed (mainly presumed,in my view: Diani 1992, 2003) distinctions between social movements ‘‘proper’’ andother instances of collective action.As it happens, many studies of recruitment tosocial movements refer to organizations, such as environmental or solidarity groups,that other scholars would regard as ‘‘public interest groups’’ (Jordan and Maloney1997; Leech 2001; Passy 2001, 2003).



While the identities of social movement activists are determined by the particularcombination of their multiple group memberships, by being members of differentgroups and organizations, individuals create linkages between the latter.

This per-spective enables us to better recognize that social movement activities are usuallyembedded in dense relational settings, and to explore in greater detail the web ofmultiple ties that ultimately make up a social movement.1 In the following pages, I elaborate on these basic ideas.

To them, protest and contentious collective action wasultimately ‘‘politics by other means,’’ and social movements were merely one of theoptions that challengers could draw upon to pursue their policy outcomes and theirquest for membership in the polity (Tilly 1978).

In contrast to accounts of movementparticipation in social movements as dysfunctional behavior, social movement activ-ists and sympathizers were portrayed as rich in both cognitive resources and entre-preneurial and political skills (Oberschall 1973; Mc Carthy and Zald 1977).

Networks also emerged as important facilitators of adhesionto denominations and conventional faiths.

Only sects, overtly hostile to theirsocial environment, seemed to attract a significant share of people with personal342 mario dianidifficulties.

Looking at nonreligious organizations, Diani and Lodi (1988) found 78percent of environmental activists in Milan to have been recruited through private orassociational networks.

Moreover, the more costly and dangerous the collective action, the stronger andmore numerous the ties had to be in order to support decisions to participate.

In contrast, collective action was associated with CATNETs, that is, with the co-presence in a given population of cat(egorical traits)and net(works).

While the former provided the criteria on the basis of whichrecognition and identity-building would take place, the latter constituted the actualchannels of communication and exchange which enabled the mobilization of re-sources and the emergence of collective actors (Tilly 1978).

Mostimportant to us, they also were rich in relational resources, that is, they were wellintegrated in their communities, and strongly involved in a broad range of organiza-tions, from political ones to voluntary associations and community groups.

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