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The art of social movement: Cultural opportunity, mobilisation, and framing in the early formation of the Amber Collective

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Robert Hollands, John Vail


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This article utilises social movement literature to help explain the early cultural formation of the Amber Collective—a longstanding egalitarian arts group from Northeast England—and the broader oppositional film movement of which it was a part. More specifically, we attempt theoretically to rework traditional social movement concepts like political opportunity, mobilisation and framing by developing their cultural corollaries. In doing so, we attempt to contribute modestly to wider debates within social movement theory itself about the conditions under which certain types of cultural organisations can originate, form, legitimate, and sustain themselves. Emphasis here is placed on the relationship and shift from political to cultural opportunity; the mobilisation of cultural institutions, networks, leadership, and social ties in the formation of oppositional film movements and organisations like Amber; and the framing processes undertaken to identify and distinguish themselves from the cultural mainstream. In the conclusion, we briefly touch on a number of questions regarding the application of our framework, more generally, for understanding collective action and the cultural formation of arts organisations today.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hollands RG, Vail J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Poetics

Year: 2012

Volume: 40

Issue: 1

Pages: 22-43

Print publication date: 20/01/2012

ISSN (print): 0304-422X

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7514

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.poetic.2011.12.001


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