Explaining the outbreak and dynamics of the 1911 school strike wave in Britain

William Baker


This article examines the dynamics of school strikes during September 1911. It argues that the rapidly expanding strike 'wave' can best be explained by analyzing processes endogenous to the strikes themselves; this requires connecting micro-level interactions to aggregate level outcomes. This work utilizes both the analytical concepts associated with threshold models of collective behaviour and the study of social networks in relation to strike activity. Extensive biographical data reveals the interdependence of decisions to engage in strike activity. Initial preferences for striking are shown to be heterogeneous amongst the student population. The accounts demonstrate that the networks within which students were located, information about striking gained through media sources, and the presence of trade union activity were all important mechanisms in the spread of strikes within and between locations.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082

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