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Sociology 1021E
Kim Luton

Chapter 15-Social Movements Introduction • Social movement- a large group of people trying to bring about or resist social change Three Early Theoretical Approaches: Collective Behaviour • Collective Behaviour- occurs when a large number of people don’t accept the prevailing norms, leaders or values in a society -can’t tolerate the way things are and engage in activities that are less institutionalized when compared to regular behaviour • Panics-occur when people are overcome with fear or apprehension and try to save themselves or possessions by taking immediate action -least institutionalized • Crowds- many are conventional or casually emerge in the course of conventional behaviour. -somewhat more instutionalized • Fads- unconventional practises that spread rapidly and are adopted in a short period of time by a large number of people -somewhat more instutionalized • Craze- special kind of fad that involves unusual commitment and enthusiasm and is often regarded as strange and perhaps offensive by other people. • Public- large and usually dispersed group made up of persons who share an interest in the same thing • Social Movement- Large collectivity of people trying to bring about or resist social change Blumer and Social Contagion • Blumer was largely concerned with the behaviour of unconventional crowds • Social Contagion-relatively rapid, unwitting and non-rational dissemination of a mood, impulse or form of conduct • An idea, belief or perception spreads through a group of people much like an epidemic- usually happens when something has disturbed the established ways in which people are accustomed to doing things Emergent Norm Theory • Developed by Turner and Killian • They argue there is a great diversity among those who participate in a crowd • Emergent Norm Theory- they perceive that a consensus exists about a specific action that should be taken, and therefore may conform to what the crowd is doing Legacy of the Collective Behaviour Approach • Weaknesses in this tradition: concept of social contagion has been largely rejected • This literature gives insufficient attention to social structure and its particularities • The collective behaviour literature conveys the impression that what is important is much the same in all societies • Pays little attention to interest groups and conflict among such groups • Critics dispute the assumption that collective behaviour is non- instutionalized. They point out that people may participate in collective behaviour to defend values they have held for years Social Breakdown • Social Breakdown approach-Widespread supposition that social unrest occurs when established institutions are disrupted or weakened. As a consequence, people are left “uprooted” and become susceptible to the appeal of a social movement • Social Integration- Durkheim’s notion -the attachment of individuals to social groups or institutions • The people most likely to participate in social unrest are those who are relatively alienated, uprooted, or socially maladjusted Relative Deprivation • The simplest and most straightforward theoretical approach • Says that people will turn against existing social arrangements when they are most unhappy with them. • Feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction • Relative deprivation- gap between what they believe they have a right to receive (expectations) and what they actually receive (achievements) • Criticism- makes the mistake of focusing primarily on the conditions that immediately precede a social movement or a revolt Collective Action Approaches • Reject the concept of collective behaviour and the whole idea that a social movement is relatively non-institutionalized. • Argue that social movements belong to an even broader category of human behaviour- collective action • Collective behaviour refers to relatively non-institutionalized conduct- conduct that departs from the ordinary or routine • Collective Action- covers both institutionalized and non- institutionalized activity. -the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by a number of persons • not all collective action is the same • describe the changes in the character of collective action, and also explain why such changes occur- they examine the underlying social bonds and divisions in the society and endeavour to understand how these structural conditions change over time • identify 2 kinds of factors: cleavage factors, which tend to separate people from one another or set them at odds • integrating factors, which pull people together in social groups so that they can engage in collective action Resource Mobilization • Mobilization-transfer of resources from one kind of collective action to another • Ideology-set of beliefs that provide the basis for collective action • in R.M theory, the function of an ideology is to identify a problem, diagnose it, attribute blame, and offer a solution • Frame-ideology is based on this -consists of principles that enable people to make sense of the events taking place in their world. • the success of any organizational activity also depends on whether members posses an effective means of communicating with one another • cooperative relationship is a normal social relationship involving some kind of cooperative activity • many social movements collapse simply because they run out of money • Theories of breakdown assert that a social movement is most likely to occur when social institutions are weak. • Those who participate are socially isolated. • Collective action literature emphasizes the need for organizational structures to furnish leadership and framing, channels for communication and a network of cooperative relationships • Differences in the way collective action theory and relative deprivation theory explain the fact that it is usually not the most disadvantaged groups in society that engage in social movements • Relative deprivation theory solves this by saying that it is relative, rather than absolute deprivation that makes people angry • Collective action theorists argue that only people who are better off have the resources to organize a social movement and impress their demands on authorities. Game Theory • The study of optimal decision making when decision makers are assumed to be rational and when each decision maker tries to anticipate the actions and reactions of other decision makers • Assume that people behave rationally • The effect of a crowd on an individual is that it alters the payoffs and costs of certain kinds of behaviour • Often people go along with collective behaviour out of fear that they might otherwise lose status among their friends or perhaps even be attacked themselves • Free- rider problem- if a large number of people benefit fro a collective effort the most rational behaviour for a self- interested individual is to abstain from participation and let others do the work • Efficacy proble
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