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Ideas, Institutions And Interests: Fundamental Research On The Basis Of Collective Action

Posted on:2017-05-19Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:P ChenFull Text:PDF
GTID:1106330488955065Subject:Political Theory
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
Collective action has existed and maintained the social order since the human society began. In sociology and anthropology, collective action is the way to pursue personal interest and emphasizes the individual consensus action. While in the field of political science, collective action often means the behaviors beyond institutional framework, which emphasizes non-institutionalized and unconventional. More and more collective actions in society make us reflect the reasons that how the action got the consent of individuals. This paper puts forward a framework, namely, the conception,system and interest, which affect each other to influence collective action. Unanimous conception is the premise of collective action, while conflicting conceptions may lead to action between organizations, that is to say, they could not be the sufficient condition for collective action. Then how the conflicting conceptions cause collective action and are there some intermediate variables? Similarly, what roles do the system and interest factors play in collective action? These are the core questions in this paper. In addition,the interactions of the conception, system and interest factors are dynamic, which means the main factor under specific conditions.This paper puts forward the main framework, namely, the "conception, system,interest" framework. Three models, the tragedy of the Commons, the prisoner’s dilemma and Olson’s theory of collective action, have been used to explain collection action.These three models illustrate the conflict between individual and collective rationalities in theory, in which free-riding is the core issue. That is to say, as long as people couldn’t be excluded from the common interest, they would not get the motivation to increase the public welfare. However, the spontaneous collective action could not be impossible under the related constraint conditions. This paper analyzes the causes of collective action in historical institutionalism. The conception, system and interest factors are not independent. According to Marxism’s view, the value system, the superstructure, is determined by economic condition and economic relations. That is to say, these three factors exist in a clear hierarchy.There are close connections between the conception factor and collective action.Unanimous conception is premise of group action, while conflicting conceptions are the key factors in collective action. Any collective action agreed upon the consensus of the members of the group and the group goals can get individual’s psychological identity.The theory of Social Contract plays an important role in nation—constructing collective action, which provides a political authority of voluntarism, namely, political authority comes from the will of people. The legitimacy of political authority comes from voluntary obedience of people and unanimous agreement is the essence of Social Contract theory. Similarly, conflicting conception leads to the crisis of national identity.National identity is the premise of nation sates, which could be challenged constantly by ethnic group and religion. Conception is the ideological root of social division and social division would be political division through the election process. And serious political divisions could lead to collective action and threaten the unity of country.This paper expounds the connection between system factors and collective action.Basic system identification is the premise for the modern government to play a role and guide consistent action. The rationality of the design of system itself, the standardization of the system operation process and the fitness between system and the cultural environment are the important factors causing non-institutionalized collective action.The democratic system as the basic institution provides the basic norms and framework for political action. Concrete systems have directly influenced people’s identity when the modern governments’ political legitimacy has relied on systems. The electoral system, an elite selection mechanism, is operable at the concrete level, influencing the election result. And it is different to deal with the relationship between the individual rationality and collective decision-making, leading to social elite marginalized. The Degree of competition and the fitness between the system and culture are the potential factors of collective action.The relationship between interest factors and collective action should never be ignored. The relationship between individual rationality and collective rationality reflected people’s values. In Greece, the polis advocates the public interest and individual is the guarantee of operation of state machine. From medieval to modern society, the individual rights consciousness had enhanced constantly by the enlightenment and utilitarianism. Traditional group theory believes the consistence between individual rationality and collective rationality, while Olson’s theory explains the paradox relations between personal interests and collective interests on the premise of "rational economic man" hypothesis. The Interests factors not only include the economic interests, the political rights, social identity and ecological demands alsobelong to the category of interests. Thus the regulation of collective action must be established on the basis of the classification.The conception, system and interest factors are the occurrence foundations of collective action, while interest is the foundation and conception and system are the guarantee. Consistent conception, system and interest are the bases for consistent action,and these three factors are in dynamical interaction and must be in a specific environment. The framework “ conception-system-interest ” could capture the main motive in collective action, which can be divided into the interest of the collective action, system of collective action and conception of collective action. Meanwhile, the division of three different types of collective action does not deny the roles of the other two factors. The regulation of collective action must grasp comprehensively and pay attention to the role of the main factor.
Keywords/Search Tags:Collective Action, Conception, System, Interest, Legitimacy
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