social movement


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

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 ?
They are looking for groups or organisations that are in the early stages of developing a social movement to grow influence and impact on health, wellbeing or care.
Delivering the Nanaji Memorial lecture here, Naidu said, "From my association with RSS, I can assure that RSS is all about self-discipline, self-respect, self-defence, self- reliance, social reform, social consciousness, social movement, selfless service, all guided by the philosophy of supremacy of the nation."
This book is intended for academics interested in the functioning of social movements within particular political and social contexts and for those interested in Latin American media and policy.
The New Global Politics: Global Social Movements in the Twenty-First Century.
The genealogical method permits newest social movement scholars to unearth the 'social' or 'cultural' revolution already present within political movements and theories (like a seed beneath the snow).
For social movement studies, committing sociology should include increasing the level of engagement of activists in research design.
The author impressively delivers several general contributions to the literature on social movements in the neoliberal era.
Likewise, Tufekci warns that the effectiveness of social movements cannot be measured through the sheer numbers of people they are able to turn out.
The field of research on social movements has produced, at least since the 1970s, multiple analytical perspectives.
Using a historical perspective, the text first focuses on the role of the posters used in social movement campaigns and contextualizes them in the Slovenian cultural setting.
The second chapter, "Critiquing the Study of Social Movements: Theories, Knowledge, History, and Action," examines the intersection between theory development, understanding social movement, and knowledge production.
Part II offers several definitions of "social movement," summarizes the resource mobilization approach to social- movement theory, and digests the theory underlying oppositional efforts to counter social movements.