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Social Movements - Essay Example

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This essay talks about social movements which are organized collective attempts to further common interests through collaborative action outside the sphere of established institutions. Social movements do not have to be formally organized. …
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Social Movements
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Social movements are organized collective attempts to further common interests through collaborative action outside the sphere of established institutions. (Sociology 2003) Another text states: social movements are any broad social alliances of people who are connected through their shared interest in blocking or affecting social change. Social movements do not have to be formally organized. Multiple alliances may work separately for common causes and still be considered a social movement. (Wiki 2005) Collective behavior refers to the actions, often disorganized, taken by a large number of people gathered together usually in defiance of societys norms. Collective behavior can take one of several forms, including crowd activities and social movements. Crowd activities become focused when people act in pursuit of common objectives. There are four types of social movements: reformative, redemptive, alternative, and revolutionary. Reformative movements are movements that are aimed at altering only some aspects of the existing social order. Redemptive movements are movements that are aimed at rescuing people from ways of life seen as corrupting. Alterative movements are movements aimed at securing partial change in individuals. Revolutionary movements are movements that are aimed at far-reaching, cataclysmic, and often violent change in the society of which they are a part. There are a number of different explanations for social movements. Marx argued that revolution occur because of class struggles from Economic deprivation-Marx argued that revolutions occur because of the class struggles resulting an imbalance in the economy and society. Neil Smelser maintains that social movements develop in response to structural strain and is part of the deprivation theory. Members of society believe they are deprived of some valued resource. Problems with this theory include the fact that social movements themselves may cause deprivation to one segment of society. In today’s world it’s difficult to look at any segment of society and not find some type of social movement. But perhaps one that spans the globe universally is the Global Peace Movement. I would define this as a reformative movement as they have in particular, one issue; peace, and they are opposed to violence and imperialism. In opposition to the US-UK invasion of Iraq, activist groups from around the world formed the largest global peace movement in history, prompting the New York Times to dub the movement the world’s “other super power.” (Global 2005) This movement focuses on peaceful demonstrations, primarily United States involvement in Iraq. It does not have a strong centralized organization, but it so widespread it commands attention. It’s too early in its existence to tell if it will evolve into another stage in social movement. But because it is international, it brings the focus of its issues to the entire world.
Bibliography
Global, Policy Forum, Future of the Global Peace Movement, http://www.globalpolicy.org/ngos/role/globpeaceidx.htm
Sociology, 4th Edition, Chapter 13, 2003, http://www.wwnorton.com/giddens4/chapters/chapter13/welcome.htm
Wiki, Introduction to Sociology/Social Movements, 2005 http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Sociology/Social_Movements#Structural-Strain_Theory Read More
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