Open main menu

Social movements

Peace sign.svg

Social movements are a type of group action. They are large informal groupings of individuals and/or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change.

Modern Western social movements became possible through education (the wider dissemination of literature), and increased mobility of labor due to the industrialization and urbanization of 19th century societies. It is sometimes argued that the freedom of expression, education and relative economic independence prevalent in the modern Western culture is responsible for the unprecedented number and scope of various contemporary social movements. However others point out that many of the social movements of the last hundred years grew up, like the Mau Mau in Kenya, to oppose Western colonialism. Either way, social movements have been and continue to be closely connected with democratic political systems. Occasionally, social movements have been involved in democratizing nations, but more often they have flourished after democratization. Over the past 200 years, they have become part of a popular and global expression of dissent.

Modern movements often utilize technology. Also the internet was utilized too to mobilize people on a global scale. Adapting to communication trends is a common theme among successful movements.

Read more about social movements and new social movements...

Selected article

Composite images of Earth generated by NASA in 2001 (left) and 2002 (right).

The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues.

Environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior. In its recognition of humanity as a participant in (not enemy of) ecosystems, the movement is centered on ecology, health, and human rights.

The environmental movement is represented by a range of organizations, from the large to grassroots. Due to its large membership, varying and strong beliefs, and occasionally speculative nature, the environmental movement is not always united in its goals. At its broadest, the movement includes private citizens, professionals, religious devotees, politicians, and extremists.

Read more...

Selected biography

Charles Tilly (1929 - 2008) was an American sociologist, political scientist, and historian who wrote books on the relationship between politics and society.

Tilly defines social movements as a series of contentious performances, displays and campaigns by which ordinary people made collective claims on others . For Tilly, social movements are a major vehicle for ordinary people's participation in public politics. He argues that there are three major elements to a social movement:

  1. Campaigns: a sustained, organized public effort making collective claims of target authorities;
  2. Repertoire: employment of combinations from among the following forms of political action: creation of special-purpose associations and coalitions, public meetings, solemn processions, vigils, rallies, demonstrations, petition drives, statements to and in public media, and pamphleteering; and
  3. WUNC displays: participants' concerted public representation of worthiness, unity, numbers, and commitments on the part of themselves and/or their constituencies.

Read more...

Selected picture


Frances Crowe, speaking in 2006 at a peace rally in Brattleboro, Vermont (photo ©2006 by Charles Jenks).

Did you know...

...that Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, are typically cited as the three principal architects of modern social science?

...that adapting to communication trends is a common theme among successful social movements?

...that the Youth Climate Movement refers to an international network of youth organisations that collectively aims to inspire, empower and mobilise a generational movement of young people to take positive action on climate change?

Topics

Categories

Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories

In the news

Things to do

  • Help to keep the News section up to date...
  • Add {{Portal|Social movements}} to relevant articles (in the See also section) and to categories...

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Purge server cache