While numerous studies stress the crucial role of networks for social movement participation, they generally do not specify how networks affect individual behaviors. This article clarifies the role of social networks for individual social movement participation. It argues that networks perform three fundamental functions in the process leading to participation and that they intervene at different moments along this process. First, networks socialize and build individual identities—a socialization function. Second, they offer participation opportunities to individuals who are culturally sensitive to a specific political issue—a structural-connection function. Third, they shape individual preferences before individuals decide to join a move-ment—a decision-shaping function. These network functions allow us to disentangle the mechanisms at work in the process of participation. They also integrate structural and rationalist theories, which are often considered opposing explanations of individual movement participation. This article presents several hypotheses about these network functions, and uses both quantitative (survey) and qualitative (life history) data of participation in the Berne Declaration SMO to examine them.

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