Soc Lecture 12/05/2013
Power from below
The power of sociological reflexivity
Unit 5: Social Change
Gradual Structural Change (US)
Gradual Structural Change (Global)
Making Change (Social Movements)
Making Change (The Power of Sociological Reflexivity)
Dramatic Social Change
Periods of stable reproduction, rapid change, repeat
“This is What Democracy Looks Like” (2000)
What is the WTO? Why was the antiglobalization movement protesting against it? World Trade
Organization. Protesting low labor wages, no safety laws, environmental damages. WTO is symbol of
cutting down trade barriers, etc. The protesters were trying to stop the meeting from taking place.
What preexisting social movements came together to protest in Seattle in 1999?
What tactics/strategies did the protesters use?
How did the news media portray the protesters?
In what respects were the protests in Seattle successful? (Or unsuccessful?) Gained media attention, got
the word out. Sets an example – spur more movements. Built closer connections among people in the
movement. Meeting was postponed. Distracted the people in the meetings. Opened up criticism within the
meetings – 3 world delegates started to oppose and push for recognition.
A grassroots (bottomup) movement that is organized around specific social, economic, political, or cultural
issues and that bring sustained challenges against powerful opponents – often the state. focused on specific issues
not always successful
aren’t necessarily just the individual acts but the broader repetitive acts these events are a part of
some level of organization
some kind of resources/funding
framing of their message
Power from Below (Piven)
Politics: “The perennial contests over the allocations of material and cultural benefits that result directly or
indirectly from the actions of governments” (Piven, p.3)
Power: “The ability of an actor to sway the actions of another actor or actors, even against resistance”
Power resources: “The bases on which one actor is able to bend the will of others” (Piven, p.3)
Power resources are stratified in society. Some have more than others.
Research Question: “Why are people without what we usually call power resources able to win anything,