social movement


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social movement

any broad social alliance of people who are associated in seeking to effect or to block an aspect of SOCIAL CHANGE within a society. Unlike POLITICAL PARTIES or some more highly organized interest or PRESSURE GROUPS, such movements may be only informally organized, although they may have links with political parties and more institutionalized groups, and in time they may lead to the formation of political parties.

Four distinct areas in which social movements operate in modern societies have been identified by GIDDENS (1985):

  1. democratic movements, concerned with establishing or maintaining political rights;
  2. labour movements, concerned with defensive control of the workplace and with contesting and transforming the more general distribution of economic power;
  3. ecological movements, concerned to limit the environmental and social damage resulting from transformation of the natural world by social action;
  4. peace movements, concerned with challenging the pervasive influence of military power and aggressive forms of nationalism.

Other social movements of importance in recent decades include women's movements and consumer movements. Although in part these types of social movement may act in complementary ways in modern societies, they may also be in conflict, e.g. a demand for work in conflict with ecological considerations. Such movements have also tended to generate contrary social movements concerned to oppose them, including conservative nationalist movements and movements aimed at blocking or reversing moral reforms.

Research on social movements, like research on political parties and interest groups generally, has focused on the social and psychological characteristics of those attracted to participate, the relations between leaders and led, and the social and political outcomes of such activity. One thing is clear: social movements are a fluid element within political and social systems, from which more formal political organizations arise and which may bring radical change. See also URBAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR, ANOMIE, REVOLUTION, FASCISM, PEACE MOVEMENT.

References in periodicals archive ?
Interesting dimension of social movement in Pakistan is evident horizontal linkages amongst civil society organizations, particularly with those with reformist and pro-poor agenda.
The five main contributions here focus on the contrasted Facebook images of Khaled Said in Egypt's antiregime movement; the gendered contrast between activist website images of demonstrators in Finland and France; the images generated by groups protesting state surveillance in Germany; the deployment of fetal images by Australian antiabortion activists; and the use in social movement mobilization of images of individuals murdered by the police at demonstrations.
Rob Rosenthal and Richard Flacks' Playing For Change: Music and Musicians in the Service of Social Movements is a fascinating study that examines how music can serve social movements in significant ways.
Nevertheless, if these people are connected by their attempt to reduce or restrain their consumption--and if they also feel connected --then together they are a social movement of considerable collective power and political import, potentially, at least.
Given the recent turn by constitutional scholars toward social movements, the time seems especially ripe to reframe constitutional analysis around theoretical concepts and empirical insights drawn from social movement scholarship.
Not everyone opposes the structural-functional approach to social movement theory, however.
It then focuses on the black social movement of the mid-1990s and its relation to "the development project.
Social Movements and Referendums From Below: Direct Democracy in the Neoliberal Crisis
Foust (Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies at the University of Denver); Amy Pason (Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno); and Kate Zittlow Rogness (who teaches at Hamline University and whose work has appeared in First Amendment Studies and the Western Journal of Communication), "What Democracy Looks Like: The Rhetoric of Social Movements and Counterpublics" is comprised of ten erudite articles of impeccable scholarship by expert contributors in the attempt to foster a more coherent understanding of social change among scholars of rhetoric and communication studies by juxtaposing the ideas of social movements and counterpublics--historically two key factors significant in the study of social change.
As I pondered these questions, I became immersed in the literature critically but constructively engaging with traditional approaches to social movement theory and research (Bevington and Dixon 2005; Flacks 2004).
Resource Extraction and Protest in Peru opens up the social movement literature on environmental struggles by directly connecting such forms of resistance to neoliberalism.