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The Civil Rights movements and its symbols - Research Paper Example

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Introduction People behave differently in groups than as individuals. The group feels differently, acts in a peculiar way and has its own feelings and emotions. Collective behavior is seldom planned and is produced out of unstructured social situations. However, a collective action becomes a social movement when it is unified and lasting…
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The Civil Rights movements and its symbols
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Download file to see previous pages It is a collective effort of the people to bring changes through new organizations and values in the existing social order. A movement is born when people are not satisfied with the prevalent social condition, and are able to substitute other new conditions of their choice. Thus, a social movement aims at bringing social change, as well as a social reform. A collective identity is a perception which may be visualized directly, or created by external influences. It can be conveyed in cultural materials such as symbols and clothing. However, all materials in culture do not suggest collective identity. The exact psychological mechanism behind individuals sorting out and combining multiple causes of identity is not well known. A collective identity can be defined as “individual’s cognitive, moral and emotional connection with a broader community” (Polleta & Jasper, 2001). Social movements can be broadly categorized into general, specific and expressive social movements. In general social movements, there are no fixed objectives and leadership, and social coordination merely found. It is an effort to satisfy certain vague and unclear societal wishes such as freedom of women, tenants demand for proprietary rights, and student share in political affairs. Comparatively, the various key features of specific movements include clear leadership, objective ideology, social organization, planning, fixed responsibilities and action. The reform movements and revolutions belong to this type of movement. In expressive movements, the struggle of the members is not for change in social life, but they act to express and ease their tensions. For instance, people express their tension through fads and fashion in religious movements. When a large number of people follow a fad or a fashion, they release their tension by these behaviors (Anderson & Taylor, 2007). Any social movement requires certain media to further its cause. Among various elements which contribute to the success of a social movement such as economic resources, organization, tactics and extent of public support, media attention is the most critical of all. The complex and greater details of a social movement often become hard to be expressed and explained, and are instead exhibited through symbols. As Machiavelli (1997) stated that “men are moved more by appearances than by the reality of things”, symbols are signs or instruments of thought aimed at conveying a free and universal meaning through certain media. Symbols are important to social movements and are used by movement leaders to strategically press forward their objectives. It is also critical for a movement to highlight only positive symbols and avoiding the problematic ones (Rotherham, 2009). Individuals in a society are biological and neurological beings having the ability to act or perform, and can be differentiated on basis of their symbol-using behavior. They are fully capable of creating, using, and misusing symbols (LittleJohn & Foss, 2008). The people never stick to the same conditions of life forever. They want change in it, as old condition does not fulfill the purpose of new social ways of living. Every society across the world has varying social mobility depending upon its cultural conditions. Education, technology, urbanization, and rejecting of old patterns and adopting modern ones are among the causes of social mobility. Individuals in a group are always defining themselves ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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