Creating cohesion from diversity: the challenge of collective identity formation in the Global Justice Movement

Cristina Flesher Fominaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)


Collective identity formation is important because it plays a crucial role in sustaining movements over time. Studying collective identity formation in autonomous groups in the Global Justice Movement poses a challenge because they encompass a multiplicity of identities, ideologies, issues, frames, collective action repertoires, and organizational forms. This article analyzes the process of collective identity formation in three anti-capitalist globalization groups in Madrid, Spain, based on 3 years of ethnographic fieldwork. The author argues that for new groups practicing participatory democracy the regular face-to-face assemblies are the crucial arena in which collective identity can form and must be both effective and participatory in order to foster a sense of commitment and belonging. The article raises the possibility that scholars should consider what seems to be an oxymoron: the possible benefits of “failure” for social movements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-404
Number of pages28
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010



  • collective identity
  • global justice movement
  • Spain
  • politics
  • protest
  • social movements
  • autonomy

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