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January 10, Social Movements.docx

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SOCI 1002
Christian Carron

Social Movements and CollectiveActions Social movements:Aforce to change the world - Workers Rights Movement (late 19 century) • Interested in work condition, child labor, minimum wage - Women Rights Movement (Right to Vote 1919) - Civil Rights Movement (1960s) • March on Washington in 1963 • Fight for equality - Gay Rights Movement (1980s) • Toronto Pride Parade Collective action - Collective action: Occurs when people act in unison to bring about or resist social, political, and economic change - Some collective actions are routine and others are non-routine • Routine: Collective actions tend to be nonviolent and follow established patterns of behavior in bureaucratic social structures • Non-routine: Collective action tends to be short-lived and sometimes violent From collective action to social movements - Most non-routine collective action requires social organization - Collective action can result in creation of one or more formal organizations or bureaucracies to direct and further aims of its members - Institutionalization of protest signifies establishment of a social movement - For social movements to grow, members must make activities, goals, and ideology of movement consistent with interests, beliefs, and values of potential recruits - History of earliest social movements is struggle for acquisition of constantly broadening citizenship rights and opposition to those struggles The history and future of social movements: the past 300 years - Three centuries ago, social movements typically were small, localized, and violent - Subsequent growth of the state led to changes in social movements, including: • Growing in size (partly due to increased literacy, modes of communication, and new densely populated social settings • Becoming less violent (size and organization often allowed movements to become sufficiently powerful to get their way without frequently resorting to extreme measures) - Were 4 stages in efforts to expand rights of citizens: 1. Civil citizenship: 18 century-struggle for right to free speech, freedom of religion, and justice before the law 2. Political citizenship: 19 / early 20 century struggle for right to vote and run for office th 3. Social citizenship: 20 century struggle for right to certain level of economic security and full participation in social life of country 4. Universal citizenship: Last third of 20 century struggle to recognize right of marginal groups to full citizenship and rights of humanity as a whole Social movements - Social movement is an organized activity that encourages or discourages social change* - Social movements are collective attempts to change all or part of the political or social order by means of rioting, petitioning, striking, demonstrating and establishing pressure groups, unions, and political parties* - At its heart, social movements are about an issue, big or small, and seeking to encourage or discourage change in regards to this issue - Usually: • The broader the issue, the bigger the social movement • The more defined the issue, the smaller the social movement - Social movements are among the most important types of collective behavior because they often have lasting effects on the shape of our society - Social movements are common in the modern world, but this was not always the case. Pre-industrial societies are tightly bound by tradition, making social movements extremely rare - The many subcultures and countercultures found in industrial and post-industrial societies encourage social movements - In North America and Europe, significant public issues are likely to give rise to give rise to social movements favoring change and to countermovements resisting it - Ex: Gay rights movement has won the right to same-sex marriage- In response, countermovement has also formed Types of social movements - Sociologists classify social movements according to several variables - One variable asks who is changed? Some movements target selected people, others try to change everyone. - Asecond variable asks how much change? Some movements seek only limited change in our lives, and others pursue radical transformation of society - Combining these variables results in 4 types of social movements (Aberle 1966) - Types: 1. Specific individuals, limited change • Alternative social movements: They are least threatening to the status quo because they seek limited change in only some narrow segment of the population (i.e.: Planned Parenthood) 2. Specific individuals, radical change • Redemptive social movements: They also have a selective focus, but they seek radical change in those they engage (i.e.:AlcoholicAnonymousAAA) 3. Everyone, limited change • Reformative social movements: they generally work within the political system, seek only limited social change but encompass the entire society. • They can be progressive (promoting a new social pattern) or reactionary (countermovements trying to preserve the status quo or to return to past social patterns) • Ex:Abortion and anti-abortion movement in Canada 4. Everyone, radical change • Revolutionary social movements:Are the most extreme. They seek basic transformation of a society. Sometimes pursuing specific goals, sometimes spinning utopian dreams, these social movements reject existing social institutions as flawed while promoting radically new alternative • Ex: the nationalist or sovereigntist movement in Quebec Claims making - In 1981, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention began to track a strange disease that was killing people, most of them homosexual men - It was a deadly disease, but there was little public attention and few stories in the mass media - Only about 5 years later did the public become aware of the rising number of deaths and begin to think of the disease as a serious social threat - The disease came to be known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) - The change in public thinking aboutAIDS was the result of claims making. - Claims making is the process of trying to convince the public and public officials of the importance of joining a social movement to address a particular issue - In other words, for a social movement to form, some issue has to be defined as a problem that demands public attention - Usually, claims making begins with a small number of people. Over time, if the mass
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