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SOC103H1 Lecture Notes - Abortion-Rights Movements, Mattachine Society, United Automobile Workers

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Adam Green

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Topic 9 Politics and Social Movements
(Week 9 lecture + NS Chp 18 + SIQ Chp 20-22)
1. Revolutions;
2. Social movements;
3. War from sociological perspective;
Political Revolution & Social Revolution
-- Distinguish between the two.
-- Revolutions must include the overthrown of the current ruling government;
-- Social revolution includes a political revolution;
-- e.g. 1789 French Revolution is an example of a social revolution
Social movement:
-- Difference: social movements do not overthrow the current ruling government.
-- Rebellion is not a revolution;
Two kinds of social movements:
1. State-centered, citizenship movements;
2. Cultural movements;
1. State-centered, citizenship movement.
-- Most consequential in changing major political/economic institutions, changing laws;
-- e.g. civil rights movement; peace movement; labor movement; abortion rights movements;
-- e.g. The United Auto Workers; Martin Luther King & The Black civil rights movements;
-- e.g. Rosie the Riveter; Suffrage Movements; Stonewall; PETA; LGBT Rights;
-- Reason why its called a state-centered movement:
object of change is for the most part at the state level; not overthrow the existing government, but
reform and change it.
-- What unites all of them are grievances on the state level.. not to overthrow, but to reform.
2. Cultural movement
-- Transformation on the level of the society,
-- Not seeking a change in policy on the level of a state, but change in ideas and views of the people and
the society;
-- e.g. Pro-Anorexia Movement; Lilith Music Fair;
-- Generally state-centered movement and cultural movement can be separate, but not always mutual

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Social Movements from sociological perspective:
-- One of the central task: try to explain why, how, when do these movements occur.
-- e.g. Why do women movements occur in some places, but not others? Why in some period of time, but
not others?
-- Sociologists: grievances by themselves do not explain why, how when social movement occur.
4 Major Theories
1. Social psychological theory
2. Resource Mobilization theory
3. Cultural theory
4. Political Process theory
1. Social Psychological theory:
-- Popular in 1950s
-- Emotional Instability: People involve in social movements because they are mentally unbalanced; they
have psychological problems; they can’t deal with the problem through right legal
-- Madness of people rather than the madness of society people live in.
-- Deprivation: those who were the most deprived thought they could not bear any more;
-- Not the objective deprivation but rather the relative deprivation (distinguish between conditions across
e.g. if everyone was poor, then people would not feel that discontent and unjust because poverty is
shared by all; if poverty is only among some people and others were rich, sense of relative
deprivation motivates people to engage in movements;
2. Resource Mobilization Theory
-- Emerges around 1980s
-- Grievances are necessary, but not sufficient; More important are the available resources for people to
make the change;
-- Rationale: grievances exists everywhere in the world. People around the world are generally unhappy;
what distinguishes the group in the movement with the group that are not is the RESOURCES THEY
-- Grievances are general and the same, but RESOURCES make the difference.
What do resources mean?? 4 kinds of resources:
1. Access to networks of influence and power;
e.g. politicians; political party;
2. Access to social organizations with influence and power;
3. Access to financial resources;
4. Legislative support
-- support from state elites;
Example: women’s movements 1960s/70s
-- Our generations are called the post-feminist: take all the benefits from the womens movements without
realizing the back upon which these benefits are build; we should see the effort that had been done and
the effort needs to make
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