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Lecture 2

SOC1105 Lecture 2: Social Movements. 19th Century Beginnings

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Liam Kilmurray

Social Movements. 19th Century Beginnings September 15, 2016 11:36 AM Social Activism • Social Movements rarely engage more than a fraction of the population • But their efforts have consequences for everyone • Activists in social movements are disproportionately advantaged in terms of education resources, familial support and social connections, why? Theoretical formulations are applied in order to answer this and other questions • Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives • Functionalist • Conflict • Feminist • Symbolic Interactionist • Postmodernist • Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917) • Believed that people are a product of their social environment, the social environment and behaviour cannot be fully understood by biological or psychological • Societies are built of social facts ▪ social facts:patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that exist outside any one individual but that exert social control over each person • Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895 • Early focus was on religion and society • Believed that rapid social change produced strains in society and this would lead to the breakdown in traditional organizations, values and authority and would increase Anomie ▪ Anomie: a condition when social controls becomes ineffective as a result of the loss of shared values and a sense of purpose in society • Advocate of the scientific approach of examining social facts ▪ He was the first to publish a statistical study ▪ Statistical study: he explored the relationship between anomic social conditions and suicide • George Herbert Mead (1863 - 1931) • American philosopher and social theorist • Father of the school of symbolic interactionism (Cf. Herbert Blumer) in sociology and social psychology Social forces are dominant source of human behaviour not biology • • Tabula Rasa (blank state) Early Thinkers: A Concern with Social Order and Stability • Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903) • Used the evolutionary perspective • Society evolves like a biological organism ▪ Interdependent parts that work to ensure the stability and survival of the entire society ▪ Survival of the Fittest: believed that societies developed through the process of struggle (to exist) and fitness (to survive) and only the fittest would succeed Politics • Sociologist like historians, or anthropologist, analyse contemporary and historical societies to validate or test their theoretical structures • An essential component is an understanding of the trajectory of modern society Le Petite Movement • Narbournne, France, 1680 • Localised collective action • Singular issue, mostly • Localised collective action • Local people • Based around taxation issues Social Movement Changes • The social movements emerged in a particular historical period as a result of large-social changes and political conditions: the expansion of nation-states and the spread of capitalism • Tactics and the repertoire adapted to these changed circumstances Ca. 1760 - 1850 In 1750, European economy economy • overwhelmingly agricultural • Overseas colonies and war b
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