A Zeitgeist Movement

Exploring Global Consciousness through Collective Action

By William Dixon Hemis: 420144

University of Portsmouth School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies

April 2011

Dissertation submitted in part-fulfilment For the requirements of the BSc (Hons) Sociology Degree


This dissertation is a sociological enquiry into ongoing processes of social change. Specifically, this deductive research will explore the changing nature of emergent forms of „consciousnesses‟ based around the world being a singular place. Extensive literature based research contextualizes contemporary social

frameworks of understanding and outlines how the production of „reality‟, of ideas and consciousness, is dissembedded from the localizing restraints once imposed on human and information movement.

This dissertation will not argue that a global consensus has been reached, but rather that multiple forms of global collective identity and action are now apparent and can be seen to emerge and operate in both globally interlinked and networked social space as well as local conditions of being. Adopting a methodological approach based in framing perspectives, attention is paid to the changing nature of collective action. Frame analysis is applied to a global social movement case study with the result of illuminating one such social and global consciousness. The work serves to open new areas for enquiry and position sociological thinking as a means to explore new societal landscapes.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Table of figures

3 4

Introduction Social Change and Sociology Local Connections Global Interactions Collective Frames of Action Theorizing Social Movements The Zeitgeist Movement: Case study Conclusions Appendices
1. 2. 3. 4. Zeitgeist Moving Forward – Press release Countries with members The Zeitgeist Movement Materials Venus Project Design

6 9 12 16 24 29 39 48 51
51 54 56 57

Bibliography Statement of originality

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Tables and Figures




Figure 1.


The Zeitgeist Movement Global Membership. Fresco‟s Circular City.

Figure 2.


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“Only by scanning with an open mind the new historical landscape will we be able to find shining paths, dark abysses, and muddled breakthroughs into the new society emerging from current crises.” Manuel Castells, 2010b, p.74.

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This undergraduate dissertation is an exercise of sociological enquiry. It has at its core, a focus on social change; the movements, changes, and transitions that accompany forms of social life. The study will pay particular attention to the patterns of social interconnectivity that continue to spread across our worlds, both in the physical sense, and the accompanying perceived „realities‟ (Goffman, 1974) of our „imagined worlds‟ (Appadurai, 2008). This dissertation will investigate and promote the notion, that the “production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness,” if still “interwoven” with human “material activity” and “intercourse” (Marx and Engels, 1975, p. 65-66), is therefore now a production enacted and achieved on global scales. The world is increasingly seen as a “singular place”, and, in many academic political and social arenas, there is talk of an emergent “global consciousness” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2).

The focus of the dissertation is on the historical and sociological contextualization of a new “historical landscape” (Castells, 2010b, p.74) and proclaimed “global consciousness” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2). Literature reviews will be used to track the disembedding of collective consciousness from its early localised constraints, then recognising in its place, the fluid and interconnected means by which contemporary social formations emerge.

The research will thus take a “deductive” approach, beginning with theories of social change and globalization, and then exercise them “to explain certain observations” (Gilbert, 2001, p.27). In this instance a global social movement case study will be

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provided to illuminate and explore said theories of “global consciousness” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2). Conclusions are drawn around basic observations between the discussed theory of global consciousness and the observed social movement. Suggestions for further research will also be included.

Gilbert highlights “three major ingredients in social research”, namely; “the construction of theory”, “the design methods for gathering data”, and the actual “collection of data” (2001, p.22). This dissertation will follow a similar route. The preponderance of discussion will be directed at literature reviews of relevant theory, including firm attention to methodology and then a short deductive case study to compliment previously presented theories. All primary research is literature and document based hence ethical considerations are largely omitted.

Following this introduction, chapter 1 will introduce the wider topic of social change and outline key sociological overtones. Chapter 2 will provide sociological theory that seeks to establish the characteristics of early pre-modern social forms. Chapter 3 will address changes in these patterns and move towards a theory of global interconnectivity.

After widening the scope and potential of global interaction, chapter 4 will introduce theories of collective action frames, specifically moving towards social movements, or collective action, which is seen to mirror wider patterns of social change and provide loci of study. Chapter 5 will further introduce and discuss the research methods used in the study of collective action, in turn selecting and highlighting the particular method to be used in this instance.

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Chapter 6, the penultimate section of this work, will provide a social movement case study which serves to example the theories presented. Conclusions will be drawn as to the congruency of theory and data, with a focus on suggestions for further research.


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Social Change and Sociology

The departure point for this dissertation is some “436,000 to 806,000” years ago, a departure point at which best estimates locate the origin of the human species. This departure, in the form of a “transition”, saw the human species evolve, forging its own path divergent to that of its shared ancestors. The exact location of this transition is as yet unknown; moreover, due to the historical distance at which this transition occurred, it is not known whether it was a “single-origin” or “multi-origin” evolutionary transition (Wills, 1995, p. 593). For the purposes of this dissertation, it is not important how or where this particular transition occurred, but rather what occurred after its beginnings, and, to an extent, throughout the entirety of human history.

Since the birth/s of “mitochondrial eve” (Wills, 1995, p. 593) the human species has grown and evolved to occupy all corners of the Earth; from “hunters and wanderers” (Hinkle, 1936, p. 137) to the inhabitants of complex modern societies; humans continue to explore and navigate the world, both physically and mentally, in one direction or another. Humans are, “by design or default… on the move” (Bauman, 1998, p.2). This movement of people, along with all that has accompanied it, is of special interest to “historians and sociologists”, who, for Appadurai, “have long been aware that the world has been a congeries of large-scale interactions for many centuries” (2008, p. 95). Evidence can be seen of these historical interactions; from the early signs of „culture‟ to emerge in “prehistoric man” (Hinkle, 1936, p. 137) through to the contemporary studies of human behaviour; examples of differing

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material and social structures come to the fore. Just as humans are on the move, so too are the contours of their existences, and thus we see, retrospectively, a species with a history of change and transition. These interactions, changes, and transitions to be highlighted, are an overarching theme running throughout this dissertation and will be addressed in the chapters to follow.

It is important to highlight at this stage, that the interactions, changes and transitions addressed in this dissertation, are primarily social in nature, and that this dissertation is, first and foremost, an exercise of sociological enquiry. Sociology, as a discipline, has at its core the ability to “defamiliarize the familiar”, to open up new areas of attention (Bauman and May, 2001, p.10). This is achieved through awareness that to understand any matter of individual concern or “trouble”, one must first locate and understand the wider context or “public issue” in which that trouble is located. “Troubles”, explains C. Wright-Mills, “occur within the character of the individual,” and they have to do with “those limited areas of social life of which he is directly and personally aware.” “Issues”, alternatively, “have to do with matters that transcend the local environments of the individual” (p.8, 2000). “Social facts” are phenomenon that exist beyond the individual (Durkheim, p.50, 1982), and thus by moving away from individual value based perceptions and adopting what Weber termed a “value-free” approach with “scientific integrity” (in Berger, p.15, 1966), it is possible to “open our eyes to new horizons beyond our immediate experiences… to widen scope” (Bauman and May, 2001, p.11).

The fore mentioned human movements, the interactions changes and transitions, are to be viewed sociologically. If then, focus is on one particular contemporary social

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phenomenon in this dissertation, it first needs to be located and contextualised within its wider historical and social placement. It is hoped that this process will serve to illuminate matters beyond that of individual perception, and to produce, sociologically, evidence of continued social change and transition.


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Local Connections

In adopting a sociological approach, aimed primarily toward the understanding of the fore mentioned movements, changes and transitions of humans, it is necessary to highlight some key historical features. In returning to our initial departure point, the early happenings of mankind, observations can be made as to the effects of geophysical conditions. Zygmunt Bauman succinctly achieves this, describing how

“geophysical factors”, or the “natural and artificial” borders of populations, served as “speed limits” to early life (Bauman, 1998, p 12).

Bauman suggests that the “constraints imposed on the freedom of movement” served to “separate” population and cultural identities, thus providing clear distinctions between „inside‟ and „outside‟ (1998, p.12). Moreover, the “inside‟ vs. „outside‟, „here‟ vs. „out there,‟ „near‟ vs. „far away” oppositions, denoted the extent to which the “surrounding world” had been tamed, domesticated, or familiarised (p.13). In essence, Bauman is detailing how early communities were homogenised and contained. The shared perspectives or familiarities of such communities, gained solely through the means of wetware, generated information and messages that served to “reiterate and reinforce” each other (Bauman, 1998, p.16). Giddens also reflects that “all forms of social life are… constituted by actors‟ knowledge of them”, where knowing how to be “is intrinsic to the conventions which are drawn upon and reproduced by human activity” (1991, p.38). Communities were, for the

preponderance of human history, contained and spatially divided geographically; what people were able to „draw on‟ was restricted to the local. Congruently Giddens

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highlights that in pre-modern societies “the spatial dimensions of social life are… dominated by „presence‟ – by localised activities” (1991, p.18). The important point here, for the purposes of this study, is to acknowledge that what people were aware of, the worlds they lived in and made sense of, their reality, was restricted to what they could see, hear, touch, feel and remember. Their world, or what they were “alive to” (Goffman, 1974, p.8) was the product of shared physical perspective and action, of wetware, and the restricting time/distance of the outside, out there and far away worlds. Common Ground

To introduce the notion of consciousness then, in the simplest form of what people are conscious of and hence the basis for action; attention can be paid to the localised means by which it was formed. Erving Goffman, introducing his text Frame Analysis (1974), begins with a discussion of the nature of reality. His aim is to locate in society “frameworks of understanding” that are used to make “sense of events” (p.10), or more generally, how “the organization of experience” is constituted (p.11). Albert Cohen, metaphorically, clarifies this notion:
“Our beliefs about what is, what is possible and what consequences flow from what actions do not necessarily correspond to what is „objectively‟ true. „The facts‟ never simply stare us in the face. We see them always through a glass, and that glass consists of the interests, preconceptions, stereotypes and values we bring to the situation. This glass is our frame of reference” (2005, p.51, emphasis added).

It is positioned, that the frames of reference in pre-modern societies; be it agrarian or hunter wanderer, through to early industrial society, were frames based on local information and constraints; frames constructed through wetware. Historically,

evidence can be seen of the development of differing frames of reference at different locations on the planet. More specifically, different collectives of beliefs and values can be seen to develop at differing geographical and historical locales. The important

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point here is that these “frameworks or schemata of interpretation” (Goffman, 1974, p.21) developed and perpetuated by communities, were formed and pertained to localised contexts. Exchange of information between communities was subject to the fore mentioned “speed limits” and hence “the separation and the maintenance of collective identities” (Bauman, 1998, p.12).

Distant Neighbours

A prominent study to highlight these separated identities is Max Weber‟s The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism (1967). Although for Weber the focus is on the development of one particular social mode, Capitalism, he does so by contrasting and comparing different societal belief systems, mainly Religious systems to emerge and pertain to different population groupings. For Max Weber; religion “swept through the great communities like a firebrand, welding them together” (pg. 155, 1993).

The focus here is not on Religion, but on the homogenised and localised frames developed by historically isolated communities, or as Bauman termed, separated “identities” (1998, p.12). Religion was simply an emergent theme found to Brief attention can be paid to how such

accompany such frames of reference.

different religious themes were generated by turning to the writings of Marx and Engels, who highlight that the “production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men” (1975, p. 65-66). The early material activity of man, as discussed, was

occurring in isolation from his neighbour, separated or restricted by geophysical

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factors. The production of ideas, conceptions and consciousnesses, often religious in form, occurred in different locations and was each a product of wetware. For Engels:
“All religion …is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men‟s minds of those external forces which control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces. In the beginnings of history it was the forces of nature which were first so reflected, and which in the course of further evolution underwent the most manifold and varied personifications among the various peoples” (1975, p. 128).

For Bauman, ethical codes, mainly Religious in form, were designed to give the actor “priori certainty” as to what should and should not be done (1995, p 4). Giddens also makes reference to traditional proviso of a “framework for action” (2002, p 41). If a collective or individual “frame of reference” is to form from “Beliefs… interests, preconceptions, stereotypes and values” (A. Cohen, 2005, p51), and to subsequently determine “subjective involvement” in events (Goffman, 1974, p.10), examples of historical collective frames mainly come in the form of “religious cosmologies” and “tradition” (Giddens, 1991, p.102).

Local Consciousnesses

Subtracting the religious associations, attempt has been made to highlight the nature of early human movements. These early communities or separate identities have been outlined as characteristics. restricted in interaction, with homogenising and reinforcing

Collective identities were established and maintained through

wetware, from which, multiple but separated and localised frameworks of reference emerge; containing beliefs, values, conceptions and ultimately localized forms of consciousness.


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Global Interactions
Moving Out

Many key sociological texts (Weber, 1993; Giddens, 1991; Bauman, 1998; Sennett, 1999) address the nature of pre modern societies as being linear in essence and rationalized according to local homogenized cultures. When focus is paid to early shifts in this aspect of social being, homogenized societies can be seen to experience what Bauman termed a „reversal‟ of wetware; „separate identities‟ having their speed limits removed. This is effective to both the individual (Bauman, 1998, p 12) and the contained communities, which began to move outward; “the local became the national”, the national becoming the global (Bauman, 1998, p 17). Here, instead of information serving to reinforce and homogenise, different communities are exposed to each other, and hence different messages appear, each “clamouring for attention” (1998, p. 16). As Bauman details; the “implosion” of communication time means that “space and spatial markers cease to matter” (1998, p 13). Likewise for Giddens, the “separation of time and space” is fundamental to the “dynamism of modernity” (p.16, 1991), where social relations of “individuals or groups” are ordered and reordered “in the light of continual inputs of knowledge” (p.17).

Technological developments can be seen to have had large effects on communication and interaction between global communities. Dicken surmises the history of transport developments until „recent‟ times:
“For most of human history, the speed and efficiency of transportation were staggeringly low and the costs of overcoming the friction of distance prohibitively high. Movement over land was especially slow and difficult before the development

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of the railways. Indeed, even as late as the early nineteenth century, the means of transportation were not really very different from those prevailing in biblical times” (2007, p.79).

Dicken charts the actual increase in speed achieved by new technologies. When travel was enabled by sail boat or horse drawn coaches, circa 1500 – 1840, the best average speed was 10 mph. A significant development was that of steam power from the 1850s seeing a jump to 65 mph for locomotives and 36mph for steam ships. Speed was again seen to increase greatly with the advent of propeller and jet aircraft post 1950, seeing transport speeds exceed 600mph (2007, p. 81).

Faster than Feet

A significant development in the 20th century was the point where information could be transported independently of its human carriers, as Bauman suggests, “faster than the travel of bodies” (1998, p. 14). The progress of satellite and wireless technologies since the 1960s have contributed to a revolution in global communications, where messages or data can be sent and received around the world “virtually simultaneously” (Dicken, 2007, p.83). As Henderson and Castells stress:
“The new telecommunications technologies are the electronic highways of the informational age, equivalent to the role played by railway systems in the process of industrialization” (1987, p. 6).

To refer to Bauman‟s sentiments of the „great role‟ of information technology and the emergence of the World Wide Web (1998, p 15), attention can be paid to the often used term of „interconnectedness‟ with regard to globalization. This increased

presence of global connections can go some way to explaining why the use of the word „globalization‟ gained ground in the 1980s (Martell, 2010, p. 1) parallel to the

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rise of „the network‟ and the World Wide Web. As Smart denotes, one conception is that this increase in connectedness or “stretching”, has led to an “intensification of worldwide social relations” (2005, p. 1).

Many theorists have outlined and described what they see as the key features of contemporary social modes and how these interconnections are forming, and, although this dissertation is not to be primarily concerned with alignment with any particular theoretical model; acknowledgment of them is important. As stated,

“historians and sociologists have long been aware that the world has been a congeries of large-scale interactions for many centuries” (Appadurai, 2008, p. 95) and this is reflected in the literature. From the already touched on theories of Gidden‟s

radicalised Modernity (1991; 1991b) and Bauman‟s Liquid and fragmented characteristics‟ of post-modernity (1995; 2005), to theories pertaining to the Post Industrial nature of Society (Bell, 1973), the Information Age (Castells, 2010), and numerous debates around homogenization, heterogeneity and hybridity (Holton, 2000); there is no shortage of perspectives to address the multifaceted dimensions of contemporary social life. Indeed, as Giddens notes, knowledge of the world

“contributes to its unstable or mutable character” (1991, p.45) and where once we “appeared” to have answers, now, “we are left with questions” (p.49). Referring to the nature of humans as being by default on “the move” (Bauman, 1998, p.2), the changes transitions and movements of people can be seen to be continually changing, as is our very knowledge about them.

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Floating and Fixed

As a premise then, this dissertation will proceed simply by stating that modern forms of identity, or consciousness, if again seen as “interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men” (Marx and Engels, 1975, p. 65-66), are no longer confined to local contexts. Contemporary “frameworks or schemata of interpretation” (Goffman, 1974, p.21) are constructed through “disembedded” social systems, which, essentially, have been lifted out from their “local contexts of interaction” and restructured “across indefinite spans of time-space” (Giddens, 1991, p.21).
“Modern organisations are able to connect the local and the global in ways which would have been unthinkable in more traditional societies and in so doing routinely affect the lives of many millions of people” (Giddens, 1991, p.20).

At this stage it is important to clarify that the processes leading to this state of interconnectedness have not occurred equally. More specifically, if the term

globalization is to be used in reference to an increasing global interconnectivity, then globalization has not happened to everybody, at least, not in the same way. It is essential to stress, that although a reversal of wetware has occurred, and, to further use Bauman‟s metaphor of the “speed limits” (1998, p.12) to human movement being removed; that this removal has not been universally experienced. As Bauman details, with regards to the movement of „elites‟, those who do not have ability to pay for securities are simply „fenced off‟ (1998, p.21) or as Giddens states:
“[W]e must recognise the dialectical character of globalisation and also the influence of processes of uneven development. Loss of autonomy on the part of some states or groups of states has often gone along with an increase in that of others” (1991, p.67).

Focus on only certain aspects of the processes attributed to globalization can be misgiving, furthermore, examining only technological changes can be critiqued as

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narrowly deterministic, failing to see the many different aspects of the world that are now at play on each other and the effects they have had. Specifically, when debate over homogenization, heterogeneity and hybridity (Holton, 2000) is had, focus is often on one element of globalization or modernity and not the multitude of influences that intersect.

Giddens notes a “tendency” for sociological work to “look for a single institutional nexus in modern societies”. Furthermore, for Giddens, it is a “mistaken” premise to reduce the institutional dimensions of modernity to a singular mode. Capitalism and industrialism are seen to both be involved in modernity, one is not simply part of the other (1991, p.55). Giddens expands to include four institutional dimensions to Modernity: Capitalism, Industrialism, Military Power, and Surveillance (1991, p.59). Another multidimensional model of globalization is that put forward by Appadurai. Here it is shown that the interconnectivity of modern social life is also not the function of a sole determinant, but rather that a multitude of flows intersect and play on each other in different ways. Appadurai outlines them as ethnoscapes,

mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, and ideoscapes (2008, p.98).

Global Consciousness

The movements, changes, and transitions discussed, from the early restricted motions of pre modern societies, towards an era of interconnectivity, have seen the world becoming a “single place”. As discussed, this is not to say that all has become alike, but rather “local events bear the imprint of global processes” in some degree or

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another (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.3). As mentioned, the institutions or flows that comes to play on modern societies (Giddens, 1991; Appadurai, 2008) mean that even if people are not aware of the “larger structures” in play, “their everyday life is nevertheless embedded in a world culture that transcends their village, town, or country” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2).

As highlighted in the initial chapters of this work, early pre modern societies were characterised by localised restraints, geophysical factors and wetware, homogeneity was the product of shared perspectives and frameworks of interpretation built on localised activity. Contemporary social formations, in an era of global

interconnectivity, have seen these restraints lifted and are now able to draw on a multitude of global influences in the understanding of their “realities”. More

specifically, the “organisation of experience” or construction of “frameworks of reference” (Goffman, 1974, p.11) is freed from local constraints and achieved through a perspective that is, for some at least, global in scope. As Giddens highlights, the individual is faced with questions of “what to do? How to act? Who to be?” For Giddens these are central questions for people living in „late modernity,‟ furthermore, these questions are automatically answered through behavioural or discursive means (Giddens, 1991b, p 70). This work will look at such discourse and behaviour, with specific regard to globally organised social experience.

There now seems present an emergent one “world culture and consciousness” where, in many ways the world is seen and understood as a “single place” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2). Again, this is not to suggest all is becoming one, but simply that new

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cultures, institutions, identities, and forms of consciousness are now being formed and maintained through non localised means, around seeing the world or planet as a singular unit. The Globalization debate “expresses a common global consciousness, though not, of course, a global consensus” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.10).

The Network Society

Although this work will not cling to any particular theoretical model, Castells description of The Network Society (2010) is of use for understanding the multitude of flows that play on modern social forms. For Castells, this new kind of “social structure” is formed from “networks in all the key dimensions of social organization and social practice”. Key, but by no means a sole determinant of these forms, is the development of “horizontal communication networks” (p.xviii). This sees a shift from the linear nature of pre modern societies (Castells, 2010; Weber, 1993; Giddens, 1991; Bauman, 1998; Sennett, 1999), to an increasing linked and interconnected world where “horizontal networks of interactive communication… connect the local and the global” through integrated forms of media (Castells, 2010, p.xxvii). As Giddens also clearly states, modern local communities are not “saturated” environments of “familiar, taken for granted meanings, but in some large part a locally-situated expression of distanciated relations” (1991, p.109), the local and the global are “inextricably intertwined” (p.108).

It is beyond the scope or purpose of this work to highlight all possible ways in which people are affected by these new forms of social organisation, or to cover the

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multitude of flows that are at play on groups or individuals. Indeed, as this piece continues one such example will be studied in detail with the express aim of illuminating one form of social framework to utilise this dissembedded means of social organisation. Indeed, who and where the individual actors are, and, how they form in this dissembedded global space will form part of this enquiry.


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Collective Frames of Action
Global Frameworks

As discussed and mirrored in much literature, although the movements changes and transitions leading to contemporary forms of life have not reached any global “consensus”, there does present a theme of “global consciousness” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.10). There now exists, in contrast to the previously noted localised

“frameworks of reference” (Goffman, 1974, p.11); “global linkages, global institutions, and global values” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.3), and, as world societies interact, “individuals become conscious of being enveloped in global networks, subject to global forces, governed by global rules” (p.4). Again, if a collective or individual “frame of reference” is to form from “Beliefs… interests, preconceptions, stereotypes and values” (A. Cohen, 2005, p51), and to subsequently determine “subjective involvement” in events (Goffman, 1974, p.10), then in the contemporary world these frames and involvements are global in scope.

Appadurai highlights the notion of “imagined worlds”, in that the global flows, or “scapes”, are “fluid and irregular” in their relation to each other. More specifically, that as different sorts of “actors” navigate these global flows, the “imagined worlds” are the largely perspective based “constructs” that result from differing “angle[s] of vision” held by individuals or collectives (Appadurai, 2008, p.98). This again bears resonance with Goffman‟s earlier discussion of the nature of “reality” and the perspective based means by which one constructs a “framework of understanding” in order to “make sense of events” (1974, p.10). Common also to the notions of both

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Goffman and Appadurai is that these frameworks or worlds, logically, do not pertain only to the individual but are the joint property of collective “groupings” and “communities.” In fact, for Appadurai, the individual is the “last locus” of these perspective based constructs; for these worlds are “navigated by agents who both experience and constitute larger formations” (Appadurai, 2008, p.98). Looking at these larger formations, Goffman identifies what he calls “primary” frameworks, modes of understanding employed by people toward the perception and identification of events. A “schemata of interpretation” (1974, p.21) or way “to make sense” (p.10) of the world is utilised.

As with Goffman‟s study, this dissertation is concerned with locating “frameworks of understanding” (1974, p.10) or “perspectival constructs” (Appadurai, 2008, p.98) used by actors to make “sense of events” (Goffman, 1974, p.10). Furthermore, this work has as its primary concern, frameworks located in an era of global interconnectivity, in the era of The Network Society (Castells, 2010).

A History of Protest

To focus attention toward specific collective frameworks found with in the network society, attention can be paid to „social movements‟, described by McCarthy as “ongoing collective efforts to bring about consequential social change” (1997, p.244).

Again, maintaining a historical approach means understanding contemporary social movements in relation to their larger contextual setting. Feixa et al. (2009) set out to describe how social movements have evolved over the years, initially discussing „old‟ 25 of 62

and „new‟ social movements. „Old social movements‟ are said to have risen alongside “industrial society… perceived as masculine, adult and class-based struggles” (p.423). Located in the nineteenth century; „old social movements‟ bear resemblance to the struggles detailed by Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto (1998). Similarly, Feixa et al. detail “the revolutionary wave of 1948” as taking the old social movement form, alongside “the Paris Commune and Soviet revolution,” These struggles were defined by “concrete boarders of class, nation and social condition” (2009, p.426).

„New social movements‟ are said to have developed in “North America and Europe after World War II.” These struggles tended to involve “identity-based criteria”, such as “generation, gender, sexual orientation … [and] marginalized communities”. For Feixa et al., new social movements are said to be predominantly conceived as “youth and gender-based movements”. Student movements in 1960s Berkeley, Paris, Rome and New York are described as „foundational moments‟ (2009, p.426).

Having outlined the nature of „old‟ and „new‟ social movements, Feixa et al. introduce the contemporary notion of a „New, New‟ Social movement. This new form is said to straddle the “frontier of physical and virtual space” at the turn of the „new millennium‟. They are detailed to have emerged in response to the rise of global „informational capitalism‟ (p. 426), and, as Feixa et al. outline, are said to operate in the „globally networked space‟ identical to that which the „neo-liberal system‟ they oppose also functions through. „New, New‟ Social movements „comprise a wide field of individuals‟ operating through a decentralized network that is flexible and strong. Importantly, this „decentralization‟ constitutes a „localized internationalism‟, where

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activists link their „locally routed troubles‟ to an international movement. This is referred to as „Glocality‟ (2009, p. 427).

„New, New‟ Social Movements have emerged since the implementation of these new technologies, indeed they can be seen as evolving with them. Contemporary

Sociological questions arise as to the nature of such interconnected communities; more specifically to the frame of reference or “schemata of interpretation” they present or identify with (Goffman, 1974, p. 21). If „New, New‟ Social Movements are Global movements, then questions as to the nature of global collective expression can be researched, both from the perspective of the sociologist, and the global citizen.

Cohen and Kennedy highlight that until now, social movements have mainly been theorized by sociologists on a „nation-state‟ level, largely due to the „constraints‟ making „global activity difficult‟ (2007, p.445). As discussed, and echoed by Cohen and Kennedy, advances on several fronts have enabled effective global communications and provide „good reasons‟ to „operate transnationally‟.

Furthermore, social movements can be „better equipped‟ to utilise global functioning; detachment from national territories or interests enables among many freedoms, the ability to “cooperate and generate alternative ideas and solutions more easily than states” (Cohen and Kennedy, 2007, p.446).

It is with this rational, that the study of a „New, new social movement‟ was chosen, as a means to explore new collective voices in an age of increased interconnectedness and global activity. The case study will be analyzed to determine its „collective frame of reference.‟ Benford and Snow detail the concept of “frame” as deriving from the 27 of 62

theories of Goffman (1974); again, denoting a “schemata of interpretation,” a way to “locate, perceive, identify, and label occurrences” in life “and the world at large” (Benford and Snow, 2000, p.614).

It is proposed that the central aim of this dissertation, and what this literature review has provided rational for; is that social change can be addressed through conducting empirical research on collective action frames. Specifically, that as a site for struggle and social change, „new, new social movement‟ frame analysis can provide insight to emergent global consciousnesses, therefore of human interests that transcend the local and speak of global shared interests.

“A couple of hundred years ago we had reason to rise from the level of local community to the then not-yet-imagined community of the state, of the nation. Now, we have to make another step, a giant leap as a matter of fact – to rise to the level of humanity as such” (Bauman, In Franklin, 2003, p.215).


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Theorizing Social Movements

The noted developments of social movements can be seen to fit the larger pattern of social change discussed in this work. Specifically, in early modern times, social movements can be seen to develop and operate in localised forms, then, as discussed, the gradual development of global interconnectivity has led to the disembedded and networked form found in many contemporary social movements. Besides this clear resonance with larger overarching sociological theory, there exists “a proliferation of research on social movements” (Carty, 2011, p.1), specifically with regard to the „New, New‟ Social movements mentioned (Feixa et al., 2009) the “emergence of new information technologies” has strongly influenced this research (Carty, 2011, p.1). Before this work proceeds to study one particular social movement and contribute to the fore mentioned research, a brief review of methods and concepts used in existing theory will help provide direction and clarity for this particular piece of research. As the “theoretical” models that are used to study social movements have been developed and supported by evidence, discussions of “collective behaviour” have advanced (Carty, 2011, p.19). In order for this singular case study to maximise its potential, effort will be made to utilise the most developed and appropriate methodology available.

The dominant theoretical perspectives used to study social movements include “traditional theories of collective behaviour” such as “political process” and “resource mobilization.” More recently developed models include culturally orientated themes

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such as “framing” perspectives and collective identity (Carty, 2011, p.7; see also, Porta and Diani, 1999; McCarthy, 1997; Bedford and Snow, 2000). To provide contextual rational for the chosen methodology, these perspectives will be outlined only briefly before continuing to detail the approach to be used in this case study.

Collective Behaviour Theory

Carty details that Sociologists in the “first half of the twentieth century” theorised social movements “as random occurrences, deviant-based, and emotionally-charged responses among aggrieved individuals to unsatisfactory situations and conditions.” The main motivation for social movements to occur were “grievances” and largely seen to emerge in those “who were not fully integrated into society.” Theories of “structural strain and relative deprivation” addressed this (Carty, 2011, p.8). Developments in this theoretical perspective were seen to originate from the “Chicago School,” where “analysis of collective behaviour” was developed as a “specialist field of sociology”. Contrasting to the dominant theories put forward by “collective

psychology”, attention was paid to “situations of rapid change in social structures and prescriptions”, specifically, to the conditions that pushed “individuals to search for new patterns of social organization (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.5).”

Relative to the overarching theme of this dissertation, is the notion that “collective behaviour” theory is concerned with “change”, and, in particular, social movements are seen as “both an integral part of the normal functioning of society and the expression of a wider process of transformation” (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.5).

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Resource Mobilization Theory

Collective behaviour theory, both “interactionist” and “functionalist,” was critiqued for seeing social movement actors as simply “irrational” and the sole product of malfunctioning societies. Beginning in American sociological studies during the

1970s, research began to devalue theories of reactive irrationality and instead started to focus analysis on the “processes by which the resources necessary for collective action are mobilized”. Importantly, social movement action was seen as the result of individual actors engaging in “a rational way” (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.7). As Carty explains, resource mobilization sees
“[S]ocial movements develop when individuals with grievances are able to mobilize sufficient resources… [Resource mobilization] focuses on organizational dynamics and specifically on how individuals, groups, and organizations access and utilize resources. These resources include knowledge, money, media attention, labor, solidarity, organizational structure, legitimacy, and support from political elites. Participants are characterized as purposeful and motivated on the basis of a calculation of the costs and benefits regarding participation” (2011, p.10).

As stated, resource mobilization theory focuses on the availability of a groups “material” or “non-material” resources, and, their capacity to organize and mobilize them. Again, of key relevance, is the “existence of horizontal solidarity links” (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.8).

Although this theoretical perspective made “important innovations” regarding the rationality and “choice” of social movement actors, criticisms as to the “indifference to the structural sources of conflict” arose (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.9). A central drawback of resource mobilization theory, and a critique that has led to new forms of social movement theory, is its lack of “attention to the cultural and symbolic dimension of social life that often underpins such strategic action” (Carty, 2011, p.10). 31 of 62

Political Process Theory

Continuing to develop on the notion of social movement actors as rational, “political process” theory gave “systematic attention to the political and institutional environment in which social movements operate” (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.9). Likewise, choice is still a central element of an actor‟s involvement; however, this choice is in relation to evaluations of the “political environment” and subsequent “calculations” regarding the “impact of their collective action”.
“The political context therefore affects mobilizing efforts and influences which claims will be pursued, which alliances are likely to ferment, and which political strategies and tactics will be chosen” (Carty, 2011, p.10).

McCarthy highlights an interesting aspect of political process theory, in that as “authority” takes an increasingly “transnational form”, social movements themselves will become “transnational in scope and target” (1997, p.255). This echoes the sentiments of Feixa et al., who stated that „New, New‟ social movements had emerged in response to the rise of global „informational capitalism‟ and indeed occupy the same „globally networked space‟ (2009, p. 426).

While this theory can be seen to include the best aspects of its predecessors, yet also invoking a “political dimension,” criticisms again arose, this time to a so-called “political reductionism” (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.10). Carty notes that this

“drawback” was said to ignore “the “cognitive” processing of the social movement actor, instead, presupposing “that all aspects of social movements – their emergence, dynamics, cognition of participants and their susceptibility to join political protest, and outcomes – are determined by macro structural relations” (Carty, 2011, p.11).

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Frame Analysis

Political environments and resource management alone do not adequately “explain the emergence of social movements, reasons for participation, and the strategic choices that social movement actors make.” Carty states that “other mitigating factors” help explain how actors “perceive and define” situations, hence subsequently “decide what action should be taken.” Theorists writing about “new” social movements began to include elements of “social constructionism” to their work, thus marking a “cultural turn” away from the „how‟ of collective action towards the „why‟ (Carty, 2011, p.12).

Research utilising this approach asserts that social movement participants are not simply “utility-maximisers”, but instead, “often immersed in rich normative commitments as a result of close ties to other individuals, groups, traditions, and broader ethical or moral sentiments” (Carty, 2011, p.12). “Collective identity”

presents as an “immaterial quality”, “a perception of a shared status or relationship” that acts to motivate individuals to act together. Importantly, these perceptions can be “imagined rather than experienced directly”, but nethertheless perspectives that if highlighted, illuminate “how individuals come to decide they share certain orientations and grievances and decide to act collectively” (Carty, 2011, p.13).

In contrast to the fore mentioned structural and political determinism, framing processes help to “compliment” theories of political process and resource mobilization “by helping to bridge the gap between the structural foundations for action and the collective action itself” (Carty, 2011, p.13). Frame analysis brings together central features of the fore mentioned theories. The creation of new values

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and beliefs, as denoted in collective behaviour theory as an automatic response to change or conflict (Porta and Diani, 1999, p.6) can instead be seen as rational action, whereby collective identity is seen as “an interactive, shared process that links individuals or groups to a social movement through sustained interaction”. For

Melucci, collective identity “is constructed and continually negotiated, and provides a shared cognitive world view” (in Carty, 2011, p.13).


At this point a brief aside is made to bring together some key points from the preceding chapters and to make explicit, ties to the proposed methodology for this research; frame analysis.

Considerable time has been taken to familiarise the reader with the notion of frame. Defined here by Carty as an “interpretive schema that an individual or group uses to interpret reality” (2011, p.13), the term originates, as discussed, from the work of Erving Goffman (1974). As with Carty‟s introduction of framing, Goffman clearly states its perception based notion of reality (1974, p.11), where, as discussed in earlier chapters, a “framework of understanding” (Goffman, 1974, 10) or a “frame of reference” is to form from “Beliefs… interests, preconceptions, stereotypes and values” (A. Cohen, 2005, p51). It is used to make “sense of events” and to subsequently determine “subjective involvement” in them (Goffman, 1974, p.10).

Additionally, Carty‟s notion of collective frame identity being real or perceived (2011, p.13) links with Appadurai‟s “imagined worlds”, the largely perspective based

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“constructs” that result from differing “angle[s] of vision” held by individuals or collectives that navigate the world flows or scapes (Appadurai, 2008, p.98). As outlined earlier also, contemporary “frameworks or schemata of interpretation” (Goffman, 1974, p.21) are constructed through “disembedded” social systems, which have been lifted out from their “local contexts of interaction” and restructured “across indefinite spans of time-space” (Giddens, 1991, p.21). This was likened to a Network Society (Castells, 2010).

Thus when the perspective of frame analysis is used for the study of contemporary social movements, specifically “‟New, New‟ social movements” (Feixa et al., 2009, p.426), then the framing of movement values and beliefs is done on a global scale, essentially, the methodology for the framing of a global social movement or global identity; the framing and exploration of a global consciousness.


Framing Global Action

“Framing” is defined as a “conscious strategic effort by groups of people” to facilitate “shared understandings” of both the “world” and “themselves”. This in turn serves to “legitimate and motivate collection action.” This perspective, and the analyses of it, is grounded in the work of Benford and Snow (McCarthy, 1997, p.244); hence to quote them at length
“Frames help to render events or occurrences meaningful and thereby function to organise experience and guide action. Collective action frames also perform this interpretive function by simplifying and condensing aspects of the „world out there,‟ but in ways that are „intended to mobilize potential adherents and constitutes, to garner bystander support, and to demobilize antagonists.‟ Thus, collective action

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frames are action-orientated sets of beliefs and meanings that inspire and legitimate the activities and campaigns of a social movement organization” (Benford and Snow, 2000, p.614).

As Benford and Snow highlight, frames “simplify and condense aspects of the „world out there‟” (2000, p.614), therefore, in the case of the global social movements, and specifically ones that are orientated around the world being a “single place” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.3), “great obstacles” present as to the amount of simplification and condensing possible. As McCarthy states, if “strategic framing is difficult at the national level, it is far more difficult at the transnational level”. He elaborates that social movements seek to build frames that “resonate” in multiple and “diverse cultural settings”. One obvious barrier also is the vast range of languages on the planet; less obvious but of central importance, is that frames which “resonate with diverse local personal experiences are not easily discovered” (1997, p.245). As was seen as characteristic of global „New‟ New Social Movements, a “localized internationalism” sought to link participants “locally routed troubles” to a transnational idea or movement (Feixa et al., 2009, p. 427). Framing on a Global scale then is probable to be a long, “extensive, and multifaceted process” (McCarthy, 1997, p.245).

The size and scope of the framing processes utilized by global social movements has some clear impacts on the degree to which they can be identified and researched, particularly in a work of this size and resource. Before proceeding to the next chapter in which a specific case study will be identified and discussed, some parameters for research will be set. Scope and direction for further research will be addressed in the subsequent chapter and conclusion that follow, from this point though, so called “core framing tasks” (Benford and Snow, 2000, p.615) will be performed in hope of

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providing initial insight and outlines of the select global social movement.


touched on in the previous chapter, the individual is seen as the “last locus” of these perspective based constructs; for these worlds are “navigated by agents who both experience and constitute larger formations” (Appadurai, 2008, p.98). It is therefore a necessary parameter of this research that focus will be held towards the core framing tasks as displayed by the macro level structure of the social movement; the individual will remain aloof in this instance, a subject in waiting of subsequent research.

Identity, Adversary, Goal

Benford and Snow place “core framing tasks” as the negotiation of “a shared understanding of some problematic condition or situation social movement actors define as in need of change.” Furthermore, these core framing tasks outline who or what is regarded as causing the “condition or situation,” and what in turn should be done about it. These are given the descriptions diagnostic, prognostic, and

motivational frames (2000, p.615).

For the purposes of this research a slight change is made to the proposed methodology. An adaptation of sorts is used by Castells (2010b) in his lengthy study featuring social movements. It is of particular relevance to this study because the movements he uses are contextualized within The Network Society (2010a). Congruently, for Castells this model helps to “put some order into a mass of disparate material” and derives from Touraine‟s defining of social movements in line with “three principles”; Identity, Adversary, Goal (Castells, 2010, p.74). This will be the methodology used for this research.

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In a similar vein to the “core framing tasks” outlined by Benford and Snow (2000, p.615), Castells model includes diagnostic features. Instead however these are

combined into “the movement‟s adversary” or “principle enemy” (p.74). Thus the problem, and who or what is causing it is combined. This still follows a central principle of frame analysis, “adversarial framing” seeks to “delineate the boundaries between „good‟ and „evil‟ and construct movement protagonists and antagonists” (Benford and Snow, 2000, p.616).

Castells model also clearly provides scope for prognostic and motivational framing elements, specifically, his use of “societal goal refers to the movement‟s vision of the kind of social order, or social organization, it would wish to attain in the historical horizon of its collective action” (2010b, p.74). Motivational framing specifically addresses the movements “call to arms” or “rationale for… collective action” (Benford and Snow, 2000, p.615) and will be addressed under the “societal goal” (Castells, 2010b, p.74) heading used in the case study.

Finally, the central reason for switching to Castells model is the inclusion of “Identity” as a specific point of interest. On topic with this dissertation, Castells search of the social movement‟s identity includes a vital element, that is, “the selfdefinition of the movement of what it is” (2010b, p.74). As was stressed earlier in this work, and is its central focus essentially, the emergent global “culture and consciousness” sees identities being articulated around the notion of the world being a “singular place” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2). Inclusion of Identity will enable this as a specific focus.

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The Zeitgeist Movement
Case Study Introduction

“Zeitgeist began as a public performance, an attempt at a vaudevillian concept… a creative work… film and live music… I did it mainly because I had been stuck in the corporate reality and I wanted to do something for myself to make myself feel better about a world that‟s going to shit essentially… it was just an expression, in fact a very angry but solemn expression… I never expected it to turn out to be what it was at all… so I tossed it up online, what happened completely blew my mind.” (Peter Joseph, 2010a)

By way of brief introduction, Cohen‟s General Theory of Subcultures (2005) can shed light on the emergence of The Zeitgeist Movement in early 2009. Referring again to “the frame of reference,” Cohen highlights that actors who experience problems to which there are no “ready-at-hand solutions,” will be left with feelings of “tension, frustration, resentment, guilt, bitterness, anxiety or hopelessness.” “change in that frame of reference” is sought (2005, p.51). Essentially, a

Intended to be an artistic expression, The Zeitgeist Movie (Joseph, 2007) can be seen as an “exploratory gesture… a casual, semi-serious, non-committal or tangential remark”. Such a gesture is seen by Cohen as a way to stick ones “neck out” and look for like minded individuals to respond to a problem. The emergence of a new cultural form is crucially dependant both on the “number of actors with similar problems” and their ability to interact with “one another” (Cohen, 2005, p.54). As highlighted previously, the development of horizontal communication in The Network Society has facilitated new forms of social organization (Castells, 2010), and the Zeitgeist Movement is one such example. As Cohen expresses, “the final product” or

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“formation” to result from such a gesture, is “perhaps unanticipated by any of them… it is a real „emergent‟ on a group level (2005, p.55).

Following its 2007 release, „Zeitgeist the Movie‟ was seen by an estimated “100 million people by 2009” (Joseph, 2011), its sequel Zeitgeist Addendum (Joseph, 2008) received over “50,000,000 views within its first year” of release (Press release, Appendix 1) and what started as a movie soon became a social movement.

Confirmation of viewings was sought from Google over 12 months ago, and sadly no response has been received. However, primary research collected in preparation for this study, has shown that the movement has grown some 22% over the past 12 months, with a membership total, since 2009, now standing at close to 450,000 (see figure 1.) and a further 520,000 subscribers to newsletters. These members are to be found in close to 200 different countries (see appendix 2. for complete listings) and, with dedicated translation teams, movement materials are found transcribed in up to 37 different languages.
The Zeitgeist Movement Global Membership 2010 - 2011
450,000 440,000 430,000 420,000 410,000 400,000 390,000 380,000 370,000 360,000 350,000
15/03/2010 29/03/2010 12/04/2010 26/04/2010 10/05/2010 24/05/2010 07/06/2010 21/06/2010 05/07/2010 19/07/2010 02/08/2010 16/08/2010 30/08/2010 13/09/2010 27/09/2010 11/10/2010 25/10/2010 08/11/2010 22/11/2010 06/12/2010 20/12/2010 03/01/2011 17/01/2011 31/01/2011 14/02/2011 28/02/2011

Fig. 1.

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With a plethora of materials available, The Zeitgeist Movement presents as a truly multimedia phenomenon, whilst simultaneously demonstrating physical embodiment in a range of globally and locally coordinated events. On the 15th January, 2011, the third film in the Zeitgeist series was released in over 300 venues worldwide in more than 30 different languages (See Appendix 1). Currently, there are 49 international chapters comprising of nationally organised groups, and a subsequent 813 subnational chapters and project teams. These are networked and all accessible via a gateway page (The Zeitgeist Movement, 2011a). Data on the growth of these groups, as well as individual membership has been collected for over 12 months, subsequent studies supported by adequate data processing power would enable network modelling and further growth exploration. A short compilation of core movement materials has been listed in appendix 3, but stress is made that to identify all materials related are beyond the scope of this study. At this point, research will continue within the set parameters of framing the movement‟s identity, adversary, and goal.

“The term „zeitgeist‟ is defined as the intellectual moral cultural climate of an era. The term „movement‟ simply implies motion or change. Therefore the Zeitgeist Movement is thus an organisation that urges change in the dominant intellectual moral and cultural climate of the time. Specifically, to values and practices which would better serve the wellbeing of the whole of humanity, regardless of race religion creed or any other form of contrived social status” (Joseph, 2009).

The identity of the Zeitgeist Movement, as defined by its founder, is that of an organization that urges change. In line with the over riding theme of this work, and the aforementioned global consciousness, the Zeitgeist Movement acknowledges that “it‟s one world… a single round planet” and, furthermore, stresses “its time that we recognise it as such… The world‟s going to have to learn to work together” (Joseph,

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2011b). The zeitgeist movement has at the centre of its identity a belief in equality, and that a move to a global social system that benefits all is required. Thus the Zeitgeist Movement does not recognise itself as a “political movement… it does not recognise divisionary notions such as nations, governments, races, religions, creeds or class.” Rather, it recognises the world as “one organism with the human species as a singular family.”
“Simultaneously, we acknowledge that we depend entirely on our environment, not only in regard to the necessities of life, such as food air and water, but also for influence and guidance in regards to life‟s processes. We recognise and understand that aligning ourselves with natural processes is the most progressive and productive disposition we can have” (Joseph, 2011c).

The Zeitgeist Movement advocates, in this direction, “the application of the scientific method for social concern.” Thus another core element of its identity is its alignment with science, which, it states, has been responsible for the biggest advances and developments in history (Joseph, 2011c). Thus congruently, the Zeitgeist Movement materials are found to be heavily cited and referenced with science from many disciplines. The latest film release featured, including others; Dr Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Neurobiology at Stamford University (1992); Dr Gabor Maté, Physician author, Portland Society (2011); Professor of Social Epistemology Richard Wilkinson, University of Nottingham (2010); Dr James Gilligan, former Director for the Study of Violence, Harvard Medical school (2000); and Dr John McMurtry, Professor Emeritus of Guelph University (2002; 1992). This is not to say that the fore mentioned scholars are members of the movement, but simply that identity and claims made, are based and justified on the scientific discourses of those mentioned. In all cases, scholars were interviewed and provided consent for materials to be used by the movement.

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In summary, the Zeitgeist Movement‟s identity is that of a global species, deciding to firmly ignore and challenge divisional concepts. Instead they bear a heavy

humanitarian stance, promoting science and technology as a means to achieve sustainability and wellbeing for all.


“So, when we recognise the fact that the human organism, which has a great deal of adaptive flexibility allowing us to survive in many different conditions, is also rigidly programmed for certain environmental requirements or, human needs; a social imperative begins to emerge. Just as our bodies require physical nutrients, the human brain demands positive forms of environmental stimulus at all stages of development, whilst also being protected from negative sorts of stimulus. And if things that should happen do not, or if things that shouldn‟t happen do, it is now apparent that the door can be opened not only for a cascade of mental and physical diseases, but many detrimental human behaviours as well” (Joseph, 2011d).

There are many of hours of dedicated materials directed towards the “bio-psychosocial” nature of human beings. Again, with no divides being drawn between the basic human needs of one group or another, heavy attention is paid, and scientific evidence provided, for the fundamental notion that humans have behavioural ties to the environment around them. Fundamental questions are addressed as to the

“condition we have created in the modern world,” specifically, to whether our “socioeconomic system” supports our “health” and can be seen as “a positive force for human and social development;” or whether “the foundational gravitation of our society is actually going against the core evolutionary requirements needed to create and maintain our personal and social wellbeing” (Joseph, 2011d).

Vast arrays of articulations towards these questions are offered. A central tenant of them is monetary economics. Attention is paid to specific liberal free market

capitalism, however, it is pushed that “regardless” of what “social system” states 43 of 62

claim to use, every economy in the world sees “money pursued for the sake of money” and national wealth tied to “production.” It is proposed that the “money sequence of value” has become completely decoupled from “the life sequence of value,” furthermore, that in the “economic doctrine” deriving and qualified by Adam Smith et al., complete confusion is made over the fact that money sequence values are held to deliver life sequence values. Essentially this is referred to as a “system disorder,” and a strong and empirically supportive argument is made that the GDP of a country does not equate to its social wellbeing, in fact the effects of unequal and competition based social systems on human behaviours and societal health is strongly correlated (Joseph, 2011d: See also Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010).

Lengthy discussions are hence paid to the design of our “classic economic models”, highlighting foundational principles, such as “cyclical consumption” and “patterns of monetary exchange that simply cannot be allowed to stop or even substantially slow”. The waste and social environmental consequences are also firmly addressed at length;
“But, hold on, I thought an economy was meant to, I don‟t know, economize? Doesn‟t the very term have to do with preservation and efficiency, and a reduction of waste? So how does our system which demands consumption, and the more the better, efficiently preserve or economize at all? Well, it doesn‟t” (Joseph, 2011d). “Absence of waste, that‟s what efficiency is; absence of waste. This system is more wasteful than all the other existing systems in the history of the planet. Every level of life organization and life system is in a state of crisis and challenge and decay or collapse. No peer review journal in the last thirty years will tell you anything different, that is that every life system is in decline. As well as social programs, our water access, try to name any means of life that isn‟t threatened or endangered. You can‟t, there isn‟t one, and that‟s very, very despairing. But we haven‟t even figured out the causal mechanism yet, we don‟t want to face the causal mechanism, we just want to go on, you know, that‟s what insanity is, where you keep doing the same thing over again although it clearly doesn‟t work” (McMurtry, in Joseph, 2011d).

The Zeitgeist Movement lays out an argument against, or adversarial frame, in the form of the “monetary-market system” itself, a “causal mechanism” which does, according to Joseph and evidence used, do “the exact opposite of what a real economy

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is supposed to do”. Before proceeding to the movements framed societal goal, an important aspect to reiterate is that the movement‟s adversary is positioned as the system itself. Attention is paid to those who benefit most and least from the system, thus those more likely to defend it; but key to the movement is that those divisions, as with the aforementioned behaviours, are “symptomatic of the system” itself (2011d).
“Make no mistake, the greatest destroyer of ecology, the greatest source of waste and depletion and pollution, the greatest purveyor of violence, war, crime, poverty, animal abuse and inhumanity, the greatest generator of personal and social neurosis, mental disorders, depression, anxiety, not to mention the greatest source of social paralysis stopping us from moving into new methodologies, for personal health, global sustainability and progress on this planet; is not some corrupt government, or legislation, not some rouge corporation or banking cartel, not some flaw of human nature, and not some hidden secret cabal that controls the world. It is in fact, the socio-economic system itself” (Joseph, 2011d).

Societal Goal

Fig. 2. (Buxton, 2011)

Forms of resistance to corporate globalization have often been criticized for lacking in “alternatives” and hence “unworthy of serious attention” (Friedman, in International Forum on Globalization, 2008). This is certainly not true of the Zeitgeist Movement. Building on the work of Jacques Fresco (2002), a 95 year old “social engineer” from Venus, Florida, a completely new societal design has been proposed. Computer aided design models are available for numerous aspects of this concept, figure 2 shows Fresco‟s circular city design, modelled by Buxton (2002; original concept, Fresco,

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2006), appendix 4 displays additional designs, but as stated by Fresco, these are just “visual aides” and included for the reader in such a context; the actual appearance would vary dependant on the “current state of technology.” It is claimed that all designs are based on currently available methods (Fresco, in Gazecki, 2006). The wider specific “goal” behind such designs, as directly outlined by director Joseph, is to build a society that is “sustainable and supportive of human life” (2011d).

As a movement with science as a central feature of its identity, it is logical that science, or more specifically “the scientific method”, is placed at the centre of the proposed societal goal. Fresco asserts that “science tells the truth,” that:
“Science is the closer approximations to the way the world really works… a scientist doesn‟t try to get along with people, they tell them what their findings are… all systems that can be put to test should be put to test, all decisions should be based upon research” (Fresco, in Joseph, 2011d).

For the Zeitgeist Movement, the science points towards “systems theory,” a train of logic that recognises the “fabric of the natural world, from human biology, to the earthly biosphere, to the gravitational pull of the solar system itself, is one huge synergistically connected system.” Sequential to its adversarial frame, The Zeitgeist Movement hence outlines a new type of socio-economic model, better designed to meet current challenges. This is referred to as a “Resource Based Economy” and its core components consist of a global “resource management system”, “global production systems management, and a “global demand and distribution tracking system”. A central axiel principle is that of “dynamic equilibrium,” a recognition that we live on a planet of finite resources and that no resource needed for life should be used faster than is possible to grow or replace. As articulated in many movement materials, this represents a “true economy” where resources are managed on a global

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scale, by “a unified, dynamically updating, global economic management machine… designed to take care of humanity as a whole” (Joseph, 2011d).
“A resource based economy is simply the scientific method applied for social concern, an approach utterly absent in the world today. Society is a technical invention, and the most efficient methods of optimized health, physical production, distribution, city infrastructure and alike, reside in the field of science and technology, not politics or monetary economics” (Joseph, 2011d).

In the societal goal articulated by the Zeitgeist Movement, the adversarial “moneymarket paradigm” is simply removed, and replaced with an “intelligent global management system”. Central to this idea, is the radical, yet logically presented notion that “no money” or “market” is “needed” in a resource based economy. Moving from a social system based on “ownership”, global resource management would see production and distribution formed around a global “access” system. Again, this “access” is to be based on universal human needs and necessities, not what a market permits. The central point is that this resource access is made available to all human beings and delivered in line with the “Earths natural referents” (Joseph, 2011d).


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It is not the task of the dissertation to draw conclusions as to the viability of the movement highlighted. Should further research be pursued in this direction, Benford and Snow‟s concept of framing credibility may be of use, designed to address „frame consistency, empirical credibility and articulator credibility‟ (2000, p.619). Additionally, the discussed theorization of social movements could be applied more widely, more specifically; applying political process and resource mobilization perspectives, along side those of frame analysis, would enable a more complete picture of any such social movement or collective action. As stressed by Carty, and broached in this work; inclusion of “collective identity” links the „how‟ and „why‟ of “collective behaviour”, exploring how social actors decide to share meanings and “act collectively” (2011, p.13). Likewise, beyond further exploration of the macro

structures of collective action, research conducted on the “last locus of these perspective based constructs”; the individual actor, would prove fruitful (Appadurai, 2008, p.98). Intriguing research would surely be the relationship between the two; exactly how the macro level framework imparts and emerges with the individual, or how „glocalization‟ occurs (Feixa et al., 2009, p.427).

The focus of this dissertation however, is not the specific movement or case study discussed, but rather on the wider placement and exploration of a global consciousness. As proposed, the modern world is adrift with dissembedded forms of identity, where beliefs, values, and consciousnesses‟ are no longer restricted to localized means of construction. The case study, provided only to compliment the

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wider literature review and contextualization of such global narratives, served to illuminate articulations as to the world being seen as a “single place” (Joseph, 2011b; Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2). The Zeitgeist Movement displays such values and beliefs, and even though it is beyond the scope of this dissertation to fully detail all of its facets, clear evidence is provided for a discourse based on global perspectives and human regard in the whole. Transcending or emerging from existing forms of

sociability and cultural values and beliefs, this “realignment of groups”, as Cohen states, is “emergent on a group level” (2005, p.55). The world can be said to be pregnant with such realignments, and, in a world of increasingly networked connectivity, multiple global consciousnesses‟ will likely continue to emerge. Unseen however, is the forming of a “global consensus” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.10).

Emergent processes, such as the “findings” and “discourse of sociology”, demonstrate circulatory patterns and continual reflexive restructuring (Giddens, 1991, p.45). This leads not to certainty, but to the “puzzling” presence of more “questions.” This “phenomenon” does not pertain solely to the lengthy works of scholars and eager undergraduate students, but “filters” down, “into anxieties that press on everyone” (p.49). This “new historical landscape” (Castells, 2010b, p.74) presents and

articulates new questions for the sociologist and global citizen, and, it is vital that these new questions are pursued. Furthermore, emergent articulations and ideas

found in the global community, such as the removal of money for a global resource based economy, can all too easily be dismissed and be seen to violate commonsense. But sociology, if it is to be true to itself, must be prepared to address these kinds of questions from a “value free” standpoint (Weber, in Berger, p.15, 1966), and to exercise a key function, to “defamiliarize the familiar” (Bauman and May, 2001,

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p.10). Research in to concepts outside of the current frame of reference, if nothing else, broadens the scope of directions available.
“I fear that by looking for solutions in the formulas of Economics 101, we will be at a loss in the dark world resulting from the failure to regulate a new kind of economy under new technological conditions. This is why investigating the networked structure of our global, networked economy may help to design strategies and policies adapted to the realities of our time” (Castells, 2010a, p. xxii). “[O]nly by scanning with an open mind the new historical landscape will we be able to find shining paths, dark abysses, and muddled breakthroughs into the new society emerging from current crises” (Castells, 2010b, p.74.).

United Nations global population projections peak in 2075, where an estimated 9.22 billion people (2004, p.1) will likely inhabit one “singular place” (Lechner and Boli, 2008, p.2), existing socio-economic and environmental tensions will likely continue. The adjoining challenges posed by the “new technological conditions” and “kind of economy” (Castells, 2010, p. xxii) required to meet both human and social environmental needs demands attention as there is much at stake. Sociologically, this dissertation makes a modest play at such a „scan‟, an attempt to pin down and take a snapshot of this “new historical landscape” (Castells, 2010b, p.74). It aims not to draw any grand conclusions, but to be used in conjunction with similar efforts, to contribute overall to the understanding and questioning of the world in which we live and the world which we move toward.


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Appendix 1 – Zeitgeist Moving Forward Press Release

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Appendix 2. Countries with Members.
Afghanistan Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaidjan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia-Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland Former Czechoslovakia Former USSR France France (European Territory) French Guyana French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Great Britain Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe (French) Guam (USA) Guatemala Guinea Guinea Bissau Guyana Haiti Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire) Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique (French) Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldavia Monaco Mongolia Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles Neutral Zone New Caledonia (French) New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island

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North Korea Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Island Poland Polynesia (French) Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion (French) Romania Russian Federation Rwanda S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls. Saint Helena Saint Kitts & Nevis Anguilla Saint Lucia Saint Tome and Principe Saint Vincent & Grenadines Samoa San Marino Saudi Arabia Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovak Republic Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Korea Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Tadjikistan Taiwan

Tanzania Thailand Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vatican City State Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands (British) Virgin Islands (USA) Wallis and Futuna Islands Western Sahara Yemen Yugoslavia Zambia Zimbabwe

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Appendix 3 - The Zeitgeist Movement Resources

Films Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007) Zeitgeist Addendum (2008) Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011) All available at: http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

Lectures/Presentations Activist Orientation http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3932487043163636261# Where are we now? (2009) http://vimeo.com/6346955 Where are we going? (2009) http://vimeo.com/7857584 Social Pathology (2010) http://vimeo.com/10707453

Audio Bi-Monthly radio broadcasts from March, 2009. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/peter-joseph

Literature Activist Orientation Guide http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/The%20Zeitgeist%20Movement.pdf Designing the Future by Jacques Fresco http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/A-DesigningtheFutureE-BOOK-small.pdf

Recent Global Events Zeitgeist Day (2011) http://www.zdayglobal.org/

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Appendix 4 – Venus Project Design

Solar Power. (Fresco, 2006).

Inside city. (Buxton, 2011)

Geothermal. Fresco, 2006)

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I confirm that to the best of my understanding this work has been prepared in accordance with the university‟s regulations and guidelines on referencing and is substantially my own work.


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