The study of social and popular movements continues to attract great interest, but little is known of political activity which takes place outside of traditional political structures. Tnis volume looks at informal political action which arises when conventional frameworks, such as those provided by welfare states, are in crisis or decline. At such times the usual expectations about politcal action may not apply, so what actually goes on? A specific emphasis on context - in particular the link between power and knowledge and public argumentation in a given setting - is used to trace the development of colective action. Key issues are addresses, such as how informal political collectives come to define their aims, what communication processes take place within them, how far their action responds to that of other political bodoes, and how far these processes affect the results of what they do.
Discussion is based around a range of empirical case studies, and we are shown that informal collectiove action is more widespread and significant that many realise, and that it often occurs in fields which appear to be non-political, such as in Swiss neighbourhoods, welfare -state organisations in Holland or within technological research. Greatly expanding the scope for research into collective action, this volume will be of great interest to students and researchers of politics and sociology interested in this important area. Kees Aarts University of Twente, The Netherlands. Karen Beckwith College of Wooster, Ohio, USA. Ben vanden Brande Erasmus Univsity, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Ricca Edmonson