Essay Guide for Essay #1

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16 Feb 2011

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1.Essay: Are new social movements ef fective vehicles for bringing about authentic
development in the Global South?
New Social Movements are effective vehicles for bring ing about development in the Global
South, but it depends heavily on the degree of democracy in the country. The more democratized
a country, the less the level of cor ruption there will be. The least democratized countries have a
higher level of cor ruption. New Social Movements have a participatory role in society and have
the potential to contribute to make democracy and development. They aim to mobilize and crate
a voice for themselves (not for overthrow, but to ensure survival). They are distinguished from
traditional class-based movements by their emphasis on identity based politics, hor izont al
organizations, and opposition to traditional party politics. Focusing on gender issues, human
rights, poverty, and a range of other concerns, NSMs have provided an important alternative to
political parties, labour unions, and other mainstream political organizations. Although they can
be effective in achieving specific concrete goals (eg. Argentinean picketers block roads and such
to get concession for the ir demands and the government concurs ex. Same-sex mar r iages), they
are not effective enough to bring enough fundamental change because they are too localized.
NSMs also do not challenge the power structure, which is what prevents the G lobal South from
real change. Revolutions are stronger movements that can bring about more change than NSMs
because they challenge government structure. For instance, the successful uprising in Egypt and
Tunisia were not a result of NSMs, rather revolutions. NSMs are better suited to countries that
are more democratized because t hey negotiate their objectives in order to instigate change,
whereas revolutions are not about negotiating.
Differing levels of democracy - Social, liberal, electoral democracies – affect the effectiveness of
new social movements. Define social, liberal, electoral democracies... Revolution is a more likely
to cure the problems of electoral democracies like Bangladesh and Nigeria, which have high
levels of cor ruption, and NSMs are not capable of instigating change that will provide the
necessary solutions to those problems. In such cases, revolution is the only means for affecting
Should developing countries resist external involvement in br inging about democratic reform?
Why or why not?
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