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The International History of Grassroots Associations

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

Grassroots Associations (GAs) are defined as locally-based, volunteer-run, nonprofit, common-interest groups. They are not American in origin, as so many in this country believe. They began to flourish about 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and within a few millenia were active in advanced (settled, horticultural) preliterate societies all over. The earliest GAs were forms of social clubs. About 3,000 B.C. religious cults arose as GAs, and a few thousand years later occupational guilds arose as GAs. GA prevalence has been increasing ever since, but especially in modern societies. The author's model of GA prevalence helps explain the growth of GAs in human history.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167, U.S.A.


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