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The inherent characteristics of large-scale collective action

Research project
Active research
Project owner
Department of Political Science

Short description

We have a need to properly catch the concept of large-scale collective action, compared to collective action more in general and small-scale in particular. This can be done in several ways, e.g., by establishing what large-scale means for/in various theories, or by focusing on a particular actor or societal level and discuss what large-scale means in these particular cases. Such specific ambitions are very much needed. Still, we would like to start in another angle, by trying to develop an even more generic understanding of large-scale.

This will be done in three steps

1) The meaning of scale. What is needed for voluntary collective action when “travelling” from the very small-scale, to the larger (and larger) scale? For example, i) there is an input and an output aspect of this (input= things like number of actors, knowledge and beliefs about and among actors, type of resources, etc., output=the consequences of (non)cooperative behaviour, e.g., everything from winners and losers, where and when, etc.) ii) It is also quite interesting that there are many similarities between the local and the global level from which the traditional national level deviate (e.g., number of actors, potential surveillance, lack of regulations, etc.) but also major differences, e.g., in terms of heterogeneity among the involved actors.

2) Regulatory large-scale collective action. When voluntary collective action is not conceivable, what is needed for governed/regulated collective action and what are the possibilities at the various societal levels beyond the most local level? Again, the national level deviates from the others in many important respects (e.g., in terms of a third party with coordination power).

3) Implications for deliberate politics. How can we theorize on the possibilities to politically regulate behaviour (creating collective action) depending on at what level large-scale collective action is aimed for and what actors are involved? E.g., should the national level govern all levels/scales, or is society more likely to succeed in collective action if each level is regulated according to its own logic and with its own unique “regulatory” instruments (c.f., the Paris convention)?

Researcher (länkas till nya katalogen)

Sverker Jagers, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg.