Social movements


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Social movements

  1. 1. Social Change, Collective Action, and Social Movements
  2. 2. Evolutionary social change An evolutionary view of social change implies a gradual transformation through a series of stages of increasing complexity (as distinct from the revolutionary view of social change, which assumes that a revolution is necessary for social change to occur).
  3. 3. Social Revolution A social revolution involves a fundamental change in social practices (as distinct from a political revolution, which involves the overthrow of one type of political regime by another).
  4. 4. Toffler’s Three Waves of Social Development Agricultural age (began about 10,000 years ago)— Social Significance: people moved away from nomadic wandering/hunting to villages and cultures. Industrial age (began in the eighteenth century)— Social Significance: People began to leave the peasant culture of farming to work in city factories with machinery. Information age (current era)—Social Significance: Wealth is increasingly contingent on the possession of knowledge/information.
  5. 5. Table 18.2 Access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  6. 6. Figure 18.1 Number of Stations Owned by Top Five Companies
  7. 7. Social Change As defined by Wilbert Moore, social change is the “significant alteration of social structures” where social structures means “patterns of social action and interaction” (Moore 1967: 3)
  8. 8. Cultural Lag The phenomenon whereby cultural elements, such as religious beliefs, change more slowly than structural elements, such as technological innovations. (The term cultural lag was coined by William Ogburn.)
  9. 9. Attempts to explain social change In the nineteenth century, attempts to explain social change were prompted by increased information and curiosity about so-called “primitive” societies, which raised questions about the nature of “modernity” and the direction of human development
  10. 10. Social evolutionary theories Viewed social change as advancing gradually through certain basic stages of development, such as from “military society” to “industrial society,” and from simple agrarian forms to more complex industrialurban ones Developed in the nineteenth century by Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, and Emile Durkheim
  11. 11. Theories of revolutionary change Emphasized increasing conflict among different parts of society— particularly different economic groups (classes)—as the fundamental source of social change Mainly associated with Karl Marx
  12. 12. Criticism of early theories Twentieth century sociologists criticized the early theories for attempting to explain too much—to be claiming to have discovered a kind of universal pattern of development Max Weber, for example, warned against generalizations of this sort
  13. 13. Modern industrial society Both Karl Marx and Max Weber viewed modern industrial society as a socioeconomic system in which the manufacturing firm was central.
  14. 14. Karl Marx For Marx, the factory was important as a prime example of the methods used by capitalists to make a profit out of combining machinery and workers to produce goods for sale; it was a means of concentrating and organizing labor
  15. 15. Max Weber For Weber, the manufacturing firm typified the modern form of organization, which was highly rational and bureaucratic
  16. 16. Post-industrial Society Daniel Bell popularized the concept of post-industrial society in the early 1970s The term signifies an intermediate stage between industrial society and a future form of society, the precise nature of which was still to be established
  17. 17. Bell’s three social spheres Social (or techno-economic) structure Polity, i.e. the state and political institutions Culture
  18. 18. The axial principles of each sphere Social (or techno-economic) structure  efficiency Polity, i.e. the state and political institutions  equality Culture  self-realization
  19. 19. Daniel Bell Bell’s main concern is with the conflict between the techno-economic and cultural realms Bell discerned the emergence of a postmodern culture based on consumerism, “concerned with play, fun, display and pleasure” (Bell 1976: 70)
  20. 20. Manuel Castells Three types of social movements and identities that can be generated in response to the globalization of information flows: Legitimizing Resistance Project
  21. 21. Legitimizing movements and identities As described by Castells, social movements that are generated through institutions of civil society that are outside of the state, yet have legitimate access to state power
  22. 22. Resistance movements and identities As described by Castells, social movements that are based on the identity of excluded groups (i.e. racial and ethnic minorities) and are the product of resentment toward dominant institutions and alienation from mainstream ideologies
  23. 23. Project movements and identities As described by Castells, social movements that use available cultural resources to create new identities that redefine one’s position in society and try to change the overall social structure (e.g. the women’s movement and environmental movement)
  24. 24. Key Characteristics of Social Movements An informal network of interactions among activist groups, individuals, and organizations A sense of collective identity Engagement in political or cultural conflict over social change
  25. 25. Collective Behavior As defined by Neil Smelser, “mobilization on the basis of a belief which redefines social action” (1962: 8)
  26. 26. Resource Mobilization Theory Developed by John D. McCarthy and Mayer N. Zald Assumes that social movements and individuals always operate on a rational basis and make rational choices Treats social movements as if they were companies in search of investors
  27. 27. New Social Movements Theory New Social Movements theory is interested in the analysis of culture and meaning in social movements
  28. 28. Globalization As defined by David Held, “Globalization may be thought of initially as the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life, from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to the spiritual” (Held et al. 1999: 2).
  29. 29. Study Questions What is the difference between evolutionary and revolutionary social change? Are they mutually exclusive? How is social revolution different from political revolution? What are Alvin Toffler’s three “waves” of social development? Briefly describe each of these stages by identifying its dominant form of economic production, its basis of wealth, and its social significance. Which stage are we in now?
  30. 30. Study Questions (continued) What is Wilbert Moore’s definition of social change? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this definition? Why is social change so difficult to define?
  31. 31. Study Questions (continued) What two types of theories of social change emerged during the nineteenth century? Who are the major theorists associated with each theory? Which one describes development in terms of evolution, and which one in terms of revolution?
  32. 32. Study Questions (continued) What events prompted the first attempts to explain social change in the nineteenth century? How were the first theories of social change criticized by sociologists of the twentieth century?
  33. 33. Study Questions (continued) How did Karl Marx understand the role of the factory in modern capitalism? How did Max Weber understand the role of the manufacturing firm? Does the information society constitute a radical break from the modern society that these two theorists describe?
  34. 34. Study Questions (continued) Name the three social spheres described by Daniel Bell. What is the axial principle of each sphere? According to Bell, what conflict characterized the transition to postmodernism?
  35. 35. Study Questions (continued) Briefly describe Manual Castells’s three types of social movements and the corresponding identities generated in response to the globalization of information flows. Which one is he most optimistic about in terms of its ability to bring about substantial changes in the information society?
  36. 36. Study Questions (continued) What are the key characteristics of a social movement? What is the difference between social movements and collective behavior? What is the central insight of resource mobilization theory? Why is it considered a form of rational choice theory? What is the major problem with resource mobilization theory?
  37. 37. Study Questions (continued) What is David Held’s definition of globalization? What are the main criticisms of this definition ad of globalization in general?