Sociology and social movements

Definitions[ edit ] There is no single consensus definition of a social movement.

Sociology and social movements

In this article, however, social movements are defined as socially shared demands for change in some aspect of the social order. This definition emphasizes the part played by social movements in the development of social change an aspect that no student of them has been able to ignore.

New arrangements are advocated; but the demand for change meets with resistance, and old habits and arrangements are maintained. Thus it comes about that groups face each other in some form of conflict. A social movement, therefore, is not the unnoticed accretion of many unrecognized changes. Rather, it has the character of an explicit and conscious indictment of whole or part of the social order, together with a conscious demand for change.

Social Movements, Sociology Guide

It also has an ideological component—that is, a set of ideas which specify discontents, prescribe solutions, and justify change.

Directed and undirected movements There is a mixture of formal association and informal, diffuse behavior encompassed in the concept of a movement. The directed segment of a movement is characterized by organized and structured groups with specific programs, a formal leadership structure, definitive ideology, and stated objectives.

Its followers are members of an organization as well as partisans to a belief.

The undirected phase of a movement is Sociology and social movements by the reshaping of perspectives, norms, and values which occurs in the interaction of persons apart from a specific associational context. The followers are partisans but need not be members of any association which advocates the change being studied.

For example, the directed segment of the feminist movement consisted of associations that sought to achieve goals of equal rights for women in various areas of American life; in its undirected phase, the movement consisted of a subtle and unreported redefinition of the rights of women in which both men and women played a part.

These two sides to the phenomenon of social movements often lead to diverse emphases among sociological studies. Those which focus on diffuse and undirected action are likely to emphasize those characteristics of movements which are akin to other phenomena of collective behavior and which are often such a striking feature of the early formation of movements and associations.

Crowd and mob action, generalized unrest, and the structure of personal commitment loom large in many studies of the genesis of social movements for example, see Cantril This type of study attempts to analyze the ways in which discontent is made specific in new definitions of rights and privileges, indictments of the existing order, and, finally, in programs for new institutional structures.

Most studies of social movements have been researches into the career of an association, from stages of collective excitement to the activities of formally organized groups.

Public policy and private persuasion Directed and undirected segments of social movements affect each other. As movements arise, grow, and become recognized, they tend to generate public controversy. Uncommitted portions of the society may be polarized into partisan support on the one hand and resistant opposition on the other.

The Negro civil rights movement in the United States during the s transformed a relatively quiescent white population into resisters and supporters of civil rights. Even where organizational membership is lacking, people take positions and adjust their behavior in response to new expectations.

Social movements may be distinguished according to whether they seek to achieve their goals through public policy or private persuasion.

A movement may work toward the goal of effective change in the rules of government or other institutions.

Social Movements

For example, the Townsend movement sought to gain legislation affecting the welfare of the aged Holtzmanand the early Methodist sects hoped to reform the Anglican church Niebuhr Other movements have concentrated on persuading individuals to a line of action and have ignored the use of public institutions as agents of control.Social movement is a form of dynamic pluralistic behavior that progressively develops structure through time and aims at partial or complete modification of the social order.

A social movement may also be directed to resist a change. Social Movements. I.

Sociology and social movements


Social Movements |

THE STUDY OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTSJoseph R. Gusfield. The articles under this heading survey and analyze the general features of social movements and describe various approaches to their study. Until the s, the study of social movements was firmly within a diverse sociological tradition that explored the relationship between social structure and political behavior, and was preoccupied with explaining variation in the political orientation of movements: their ideologies, aims, motivations, or propensities for violence.

A social movement is a purposely organized group working to a shared or common social goal. A public is an unorganized, diffuse group of people who share similar ideas.

Sociology and social movements

A flash mob is a group of people who come together to do a spontaneous activity that lasts for a short time. Political Sociology and Social Movements. One stream of research in political sociology at Ohio State is comparative, examining a range of topics that includes the determinants of civil unrest and terrorism, the development of international criminal law in post-conflict nations, and technology diffusion.

Social movements may be of numerous kinds such as religious movements, reform movements or revolutionary movements. Lundberg defined social movement as a voluntary association of people engaged in concerted efforts to change attitudes, behavior and social relationships in a larger society.

Social Movements, Sociology Guide