Social Change, Social Movements and Globalization

Social change can be defined as a ''succession of events which produce over time a modification or replacement of particular patterns or units by other novel ones'' (Smith 1973: 1). Sociology as a discipline emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century as an attempt to explain the great waves of change sweeping Europe in the form of industrialization and democratization, and the observed gap between European and colonized societies.

Although scholarly definitions vary, common usage portrays social movements as sustained and intentional efforts to foster or retard social changes, primarily outside the normal institutional channels encouraged by authorities. Sustained implies that movements differ from single events such as riots or rallies. Their persistence often allows them to develop formal organizations, but they may also operate through informal social networks. Intentional links movements to culture and strategy: people have ideas about what they want and how to get it, ideas that are filtered through culture as well as psychology.

Animal Rights Movements

The animal rights movement, which emerged in the 1970s, seeks to end the use of animals as sources of food and experimental subjects. It has challenged traditional animal welfare which seeks to eliminate the unnecessary suffering of animals. Strategically, the animal rights movement is characterized by its willingness to engage in grassroots campaigning and activism […]

Anti-War and Peace Movements

While many people in the USA are only aware of anti-war and peace movements from the 1960s and 1970s period of social unrest, these movements have been in existence since long before. Peace and antiwar movements are social movements that concentrate on a variety of issues related to violence, armed conflict, war, domination and oppression. […]

Collective Identity

Within social movement theory, collective identity refers to the shared definition of a group that derives from its members’ common interests, experiences, and solidarities. It is the social movement’s answer to who we are, locating the movement within a field of political actors. Collective identity is neither fixed nor innate, but, rather, emerges through struggle […]

Colonialism

Colonialism refers to the direct political control of a society and its people by a foreign ruling state. Essentially it is a political phenomenon. The ruling state monopolizes political power and keeps the subordinated society and its people in a legally inferior position. But colonialism has had significant cultural, social, and economic correlates and ramifications. […]

Crowd Behavior

Crowd behavior is a misleading concept suggesting unanimous and continuous action by actors with similar motives. Three decades of observations of hundreds of demonstrations, celebrations and sporting events have debunked those stereotypes. Late-twentieth-century students of collective phenomena discarded ”the crowd” as a useful descriptive or explanatory concept. They embraced ”the gathering” as a concept that […]

Norbert Elias

Norbert Elias was born in Breslau, Germany in 1897. He was the son of a small manufacturer and was brought up in comfortable surroundings. Elias received his PhD in 1924 and then went to Heidelberg, where he became very actively involved in sociology circles, most notably one headed by Marianne Weber. He also became friend […]

Endogenous Development

Endogenous development was presented as an alternative perspective on development that reconsidered modernization theory, which had until the 1960s been the dominant analytical paradigm of social change. The notion of ”endogenous development” originates in two sources. One was the Dag Hammarskjold report Another Development, presented to the Seventh Special Session of the United Nations General […]

Environmental Movements

Environmental movements are loose, uninstitutionalized networks of individuals and groups engaged in collective action motivated by shared concern about environmental issues. They are identical neither with organizations nor with protest. Less visible local action and interactions with governments and corporations are also important. Although environmental concern has a long history, modern environmentalism dates from the […]

Gay and Lesbian Movement

Since the 1980s sociologists who have studied the gay and lesbian movement have focused on five sets of issues. The first set involves research on the structural conditions that led to the emergence of an organized movement. This research has stressed the importance of the rise of industrial capitalism, changes in the nature of the […]

Human Rights

”Human rights are those liberties, immunities and benefits which, by accepted contemporary values, all human being should be able to claim ‘as of right’ of the society in which they live” (Encyclopedia of Public International Law 1995: 886). Human rights are constitutive for the contemporary discourse on the moral nature of society and individuals that […]

Hybridity

Hybridity refers to the mixture of phenomena that are held to be distinct, separate. In consumer behavior and lifestyles cut-‘n’-mix experiences have become increasingly common. The theme of hybridity matches a world of intensive intercultural communication, everyday multiculturalism, growing migration and diaspora lives, and the erosion of boundaries, at least in some spheres. New hybrid […]

New Social Movement Theory

New social movement theory (NSMT) emerged in the 1980s in Europe to analyze new movements that appeared from the 1960s onward. They were ”new” vis-a-vis the ”old” working-class movement of Marxist theory. By contrast, new social movements are organized around race, ethnicity, youth, sexuality, countercultures, environmentalism, pacifism, human rights, and the like. NSMT is a […]

Resource Mobilization Theory

A renaissance of social movement research has occurred since the 1980s as scholars have sought to understand the emergence, significance and effects of social movements. Resource mobilization theory (RMT) contributes to our understanding by taking the analytical insights of organizational sociology and extending them by analogy to social movements. RMT views social movements as purposive […]

Social Change

Change can be defined as a ”succession of events which produce over time a modification or replacement of particular patterns or units by other novel ones” (Smith 1973: 1). Sociology as a discipline emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century as an attempt to explain the great waves of change sweeping Europe in the […]

Social Movements

Although scholarly definitions vary, common usage portrays social movements as sustained and intentional efforts to foster or retard social changes, primarily outside the normal institutional channels encouraged by authorities. Sustained implies that movements differ from single events such as riots or rallies. Their persistence often allows them to develop formal organizations, but they may also […]

Networks and Social Movements

Social movement analysts have treated networks either as important facilitators of individuals’ decisions to become involved in collective action, or as the structure of the links between the actors committed to a certain cause. Movement networks may include both individual activists and organizations, connected through ties that do not just involve the exchange of resources […]

Nonviolent Social Movements

Nonviolent social movements are collective, organized, and sustained attempts to promote social change through methods of nonviolent action. That is, through actions that occur outside of conventional politics, but do not involve violence or the threat of violence against the opponent. Such actions include, but are not limited to, protest demonstrations, marches, boycotts, strikes, disruption, […]

Participatory Democracy in Social Movements

Participatory democracy refers to an organizational form in which decision-making is decentralized, nonhierarchical, and consensus-oriented. It can be contrasted with bureaucracy, in which decision-making is centralized, hierarchical, and based on a formal division of labor, as well as with majority vote. Participatory democratic organizations today claim a diverse lineage, with precursors in ancient Athenian democracy, […]

Repression of Social Movements

The repression of social movements involves attempts by state or private actors to increase the costs of participating in social movements or otherwise limiting social movement activity (e.g., surveillance, arrest, or imprisonment; violence; counterintelligence programs). Major distinctions have been made between forms of repression. First, is the repression easily observable (e.g., covert counterintelligence programs versus […]

Student Movements

Student movements have emerged in many modern and modernizing societies. Increasing student numbers provide the necessary critical mass for movements, but political conditions provide the most general reasons for their development. In the 1960s student movements spread in opposition to the Vietnam War and, in France in May 1968, threatened revolution. They inspired women’s, personal […]