The Cultural Identity, Ideology, and Organization
In turning from the political to the cultural, it bears repeating that this is not a distinction between different types of movements but rather between qualities possessed by all movements. The cultural dimensions of movements engaged in social politics may be more evident because their goals are intertwined with the symbolic practices of everyday life, but this does not mean that they are somehow "more" cultural than movements engaged in state politics. The latter also have important cultural foundations, although they may be obscured by an instrumentalist orientation to social change. Leftist movements in the United States provide particularly rich examples of the relation between the political and the cultural in collective action. Although most such movements have had avowedly political goals and state-centered strategies, their greatest impact and legacy may have been in the cultural arena ( Boggs, 1995; Flacks, 1994, 1988). In the same vein, current calls for a revived left place a strong emphasis on the cultural dimensions of moral values and community building ( Derber, 1995) alongside conventional political tactics. This recognition of the cultural aspects of what have historically been seen as political struggles is best read not as a criticism of movement tactics but rather as a recognition of the inescapably cultural foundations of all social action, including the social activism in which movements engage. This is why attempts to dichotomize movements as political or cultural obscure more than they reveal about the role of both aspects in all movements. With these provisos in mind, this chapter shifts the focus from the political to the cultural in social activism.