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Laughing Saints and Righteous HeroesEmotional Rhythms in Social Movement Groups$
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Erika Effler

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226188652

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226188676.001.0001

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Conclusion: Toward a Fluid Theory of Social Organization

Conclusion: Toward a Fluid Theory of Social Organization

(p.183) Five Conclusion: Toward a Fluid Theory of Social Organization
Laughing Saints and Righteous Heroes

Erika Summers Effler

University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows how stable social patterns can be seen as evolving cycles of emergence, stability, collapse, and reemergence that move at varying speeds and rhythms. It argues that such patterns emerge when anticipation shunts action into increasingly well-worn paths, and that these patterns collapse when increasingly rigid organization limits access to necessary resources. From a distance, these groups seem solid and stable; up close, they seem fluid and disordered. It assumes a mid-range position, which smoothes processes but does not solidify them into static or discrete entities and discusses how social scientists can gain analytic leverage by repeatedly shifting focus. This process is illustrated by moving closer to convey gritty physical emotional dynamics in a literary style and by moving farther out to develop smooth abstract theory with the comparative method.

Keywords:   social patterns, emotions, comparative method, abstract theory, literary styles

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