12.02 Lecture - Social Protest Movements.docx

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SOC 148
Rob Beamish

SOCIAL PROTEST MOVEMENTS 12/02/2013 CB was useful but tended to reduce things to emotions, to venting, to psychologisms Reduce a whole bunch of people to a collective psychology What predicts social protest? -- Under what conditions to people actually mobilize to make history? Salt of the earth – trigger: short fuse, what was it about those conditions that triggered social protest SOCIAL PROTEST …is an attempt by a group to change to their benefit, through public demonstration, the formal institutional structures of a society… 1. Who participates in social protest and why? Shared beliefs and values, attitudes; also, availability We know that when they’re available they can participate, but they must also possess the minimum requirement which is shared attitudes and beliefs 2. What role do attitudes play in social protest? 3. What role does availability play in social protest participation? 4. What ultimately predicts social protest (under what conditions do people actually mobilize to make history)?*** 5. What predicts success and/or failure of social protests?*** ***Answered in this lecture! You need everybody around you; as an individual, that’s democracy; you mobilize opinion When democracies or any system doesn’t recognize their complaint  collective action: action taken by a collective for a particular end that’s how most people in the world can make social change; living daily life is waiting for it to be able to live it SOCIAL PROTEST MOVEMENTS What predicts social protest (movements)? Another classic rendering of social protest movements in America, Why do we focus on poor people’s movements? Because poor people are the least capable of mobilizing on their own behalf Rich people can do it institutionally, not extra-institutionally like poor people have to do If we learn how poor folks can mobilize, we can learn how a lot of people can mobilize They are the last likely to do it, the most likely to be unsuccessful when doing it, they have the most to lose when the do it The cost of organizing and protesting is high(er) for poor people Piven and Cloward “People tend to conform to the institutional arrangements…REFER TO SLIDE FOR COMPLETE QUOTE argue similar to Flax (democracy argument) that social structure and values (like liberty and democracy) also predict participation in social protest; go a little bit deeper insofar as they know that the US ideology of liberty itself is attached to a mythology of individual success These beliefs and attitudes about how to pursue personal success undercuts participation in collective actions (being part of a group project like a social movement – undercuts it) Lack of talent / effort explains YOUR failures; you can personalize failure It makes public manifestations less likely to be due to social problems The backdrop for movements in the US Social protest mobilization? The emergence of mass social protest entails a transformation of consciousness away from status quo ideologies and toward new values and beliefs that reflect… Pivot and Cloward say that if everyone thinks it’s just about their private troubles, you cannot have a social protest Otherwise, there’s no reason for you to get together with anybody else People see the existing rules and ideas as somehow wrong, as somehow not explaining their situation and that furthermore, those norms, values, need to be changed so that they can actually live differently In particular, this process involves 4 dimensions: 1. Legitimacy to illegitimacy a. Illegitimacy: When daily life is interpreted as highly unjust—a moral claim that soicla arrangements are wrong—the rejection of established forms of authority and norms for daily life are more likely… i. In this context, words like liberty and democracy, they demand that understanding that we’ve already gone through ii. The legitimate system is seen as unjust/wrong – the authority being applied is no longer recognized (which is an exceedingly important to acknowledging social protests) iii. Former systems of authority became targets for redress (not right/wrong) iv. What was normal becomes unacceptable (you see things through a different lens) 2. Fatalism to Demands: when people no longer view social arrangements as inevitable i.e., fate based but changeable that they are more likely to demand what they deem as “right” a. Social protest doesn’t just emerge from a sense of illegitimacy; some people always have issues with authority/ find them illegitimate b. The way life is organized is inevitable and begin to demand, as collectives, a right to control their future c. They don’t believe that their fate entirely rests in the hands of those outside of themselves d. They usually find a target for demands; the demands are the antithesis of the fatalism that they had before 3. Helplessness to Empowerment: Efficacy reflects growing sense of collective empowerment – that the collective can change what they deem to be unjust values and social structures… a. Efficacy is thinking you can chang
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