Sociology Index

Social Movements

Books on Social Movements

What is a Social Movement? The Sociology of Social Movements
Sociologists have viewed social movements using a number of different perspectives. Social movements as a response to social strains. Social movements as a reflection of trends and directions throughout the society more generally. Social movements as a reflection of individual dissatisfaction and feelings of deprivation. and Social movements as a natural step in the generation and modification of social institutions.

Social movements are organized and sustained activities that have a clear goal in terms of achieving or preventing social change. Sociological interpretations of social movements will help bring larger theoretical questions to bear on empirical evidence. Social problems are generally characterized by the traits of specific social movements. Astroturfing is advocacy in support of a political or corporate agenda appearing as a "grassroots" social movement.

Herbert Blumer set forth a typology of social movementst. General social movements consist of vague goals or objectives and lack organization, leadership, and structure. Specific social movements usually grows out of a general movement as the latter grows out of a cultural drift.

Norm-oriented social movements are content to leave the underlying culture and organization of a society pretty much intact, striving only for changes in some of the social arrangements, rules, norms, laws, and other less fundamental aspects. Most social problems are of the norm-oriented type and only very rarely value-oriented, for they do not typically address the basis of the culture itself.

Value-oriented social movements include many of the movements called by Blumer "expressive" and "nationalist," many of the religious movements of history, and probably all of the movements based on the great "isms," such as Communism, Fascism, millenarianism which attempt to reorder entire ways of life.

Feminist research demonstrates that gender is an explanatory factor in the emergence of all social movements. The role that social movements play in the social construction of gender. Feminist ideas and social movements emerged in Europe, Great Britain, and the United States in an international context that promoted the migration of people and ideas.

In social movements leaders must strive to preserve the movements' collective identity in opposition to the dominant culture. An examination of the environmental movement in the United States shows that sustainable social movements will combine efforts at legal change with efforts to change underlying social values. The relationship between social movements and demands for universal health care is a critical one.

Traditional work on the sociology of mass movements concentrated on the processes by which such movements emerged, how mass social movements recruited new members, defined their goals, and gathered the initial resources that would allow them to survive. Professionally oriented social movements enjoy advantages in terms of expertise, organization, they also are often relatively easy for the state to control.

The American Social Movement Cultures (Washington State).
This site seeks to bring together the best insights of sociology, political science, anthropology, history, cultural studies, American studies, ethnic studies, women's studies, as well as the insights of social movement activists inside and outside of academia.

Social Movements Abstracts

A Durkheimian Theory of Social Movements - Segre, Sandro - This essay formulates a Durkheimian rational choice theory and network theory of social movements. This theory may account for the different outcomes of the Civil Rights movement in the US and Social Democracy in Imperial Germany.

GENDER AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS - Gender Processes in Women's Self-Help Movements
VERTA TAYLOR - Ohio State University.

How Have Recent Social Movements Shaped Civil Rights Legislation for Women? The 1994 Violence Against Women Act by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Suzanne Lustig.
This project focuses on the civil rights provisions which gave women victims of violence access to federal courts.

Social Movements as Catalysts for Policy Change: The Case of Smoking and Guns - Constance A. Nathanson - Johns Hopkins - Identifies social movement ideologies and actions.

Historical Social Movements, Ecological Crisis and ‘Other’ World Views
Journal of Developing Societies, Vol. 24, No. 1, 31-56 (2008) - Sing C. Chew
Bioregionalism is a direct contrast to our world-view that underscores the themes of globalization, technologization of life and hyper consumption.

Social Movements, Law, and Society: The Institutionalization of the Environmental Movement
Cary Coglianese - University of Pennsylvania Law School
John F. Kennedy School of Government Working Paper Series RWP01-046.

Framing Processes and Social Movements: An Overview and Assessment
Robert D. Benford - University of Nebraska, David A. Snow - University of Arizona
How collective action frames have been conceptualized.

Sovereignty, globalization and transnational social movements - Raimo Väyrynen
Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
Economic globalization is associated with the liberalization of the world economy. States and their sovereignty are not disappearing, but they cannot exercise their agentive power as effectively as before.

Social Movements Research and the ‘Movement of Movements’: Studying Resistance to Neoliberal Globalisation - By Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen, National University of Ireland.
Explores research on the ‘movement of movements’ against neoliberal globalisation.

NGOs, Social Movements, External Funding and Dependency - Fernand Vincent
Issues related to the financing sources and how they relate to the autonomy of NGOs.

Social Movements: An Analytical Exploration of Organizational Forms - Russell L. Curtis, Jr., Louis A. Zurcher, Jr.
A review of the literature on social movement organizations.

DEMOCRATISATION AND THE DECLINE OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: THE EFFECTS OF REGIME CHANGE ON COLLECTIVE ACTION IN EASTERN EUROPE, SOUTHERN EUROPE AND LATIN AMERICA - CHRISTOPHER G. PICKVANCE - Urban and Regional Studies Unit, University of Kent
Explores how regime change affects social movements, drawing on studies of Latin America, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe.

What Are Social Movements and What Is Gendered About Women's Participation in Social Movements? A Sociological Perspective - by Benita Roth and Marian Horan.

Health care reform and social movements in the United States. Hoffman B. - Northern Illinois University

URBAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND THE TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN PORTUGAL, 1974–1976 - PEDRO RAMOS PINTO, University of Manchester
The impact of the urban social movement active in Lisbon on the Portuguese transition to democracy.

From Wollstonecraft to Mill: What British and European Ideas and Social Movements Influenced the Emergence of Feminism in the Atlantic World, 1792-1869? Nancy Hewitt, revised by Kitty Sklar.

How Did Oberlin Women Students Draw on Their College Experience to Participate in Antebellum Social Movements, 1831-1861? by Professor Carol Lasser and Oberlin College Students.
The female students at Oberlin embraced their gendered responsibilites for domestic virtue. Female students in the antebellum era drew on their college experience to participate in local as well as national social movements.

How Did Sarah Bagley Contribute to the Ten-Hour Movement in Lowell and How Did Her Labor Activism Flow into Other Reform Movements, 1836-1870? - by Teresa Murphy and Thomas Dublin.
Sarah Bagley campaigned tirelessly to make ten hours of labor per day the maximum in Massachusetts.

How Did Diverse Activists Shape the Dress Reform Movement, 1838-1881? - by Melissa Doak and Melissa Karetny.
The water curists, the Oneida community, and woman's rights reformers attempted to reform women's dress. Varied reasons why women attempted to break free of the restraints of nineteenth-century women's fashionable clothing.

How Did Diverse Activists in the Second Wave of the Women's Movement Shape Emerging Public Policy on Sexual Harassment? by Carrie N. Baker.
The organized women's movement began to raise awareness about sexual harassment.