2009 “Collective Action” in P. Hedström and P. Bearman (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology.
ABSTRACT: The chapter outlines new directions for future research on formal models of collective action. It invites scholars to move beyond the ‘free rider’ problem and to apply analytical tools for the understanding of a broader set of aspects that are distinctive of collective action phenomena: Namely, the formation of collective identities and interests; the interplay between individual attitudes and social networks, and between multiple levels of decision making (individual, organizational and inter-organizational); and finally, the interdependence of individual and collective interests. Despite empirical research provided evidence of their importance, these aspects have been rarely incorporated into analytical models. The chapter suggests various ways to do it, and thus systematically investigate the generative mechanisms that underline these phenomena.
In general, the chapter moves from the study of problems of coordination and aggregation of individual choices to problems of identity construction and social influence. In doing so, it gives primacy to micro-relational patterns of interaction over the study of individuals and their monadic characteristics.