Sociology Index

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 strain, and 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 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. 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.

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 Globalization - By Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen, National University of Ireland.
Explores research on the ‘movement of movements’ against neoliberal globalization.

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.

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

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 Social 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 Social Movement Shape Emerging Public Policy on Sexual Harassment? by Carrie N. Baker. The organized women's social movement began to raise awareness about sexual harassment.

Books On Social Movements


The Social Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts by Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper (Editors).
This reader makes organizing an engaging course on social movements easy. Provides answers to nine major questions on social movements. In the study of social movements, this volume is valuable addition

The American Civil Rights Movement: A Documentary History (Documents in Modern History by Robert P. Green Jr. and Harold E. Cheatham
An excellent supplement to textbook treatments of modern U.S. history, African American history, and/or the Civil Rights Movement.

Global Movements Book by Kevin McDonald
Culture, power, and action in a globalizing world. Some of the most significant of movements, including antiglobalization and the new Islamic movements.

Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action (Comparative Politics) Book by Mario Diani, Doug McAdam (Editors) - Leading social movement researchers map the full range of applications of network concepts and tools to their field of inquiry.

Contemporary Movements and Ideologies - Book by Roberta Garner
The book provides a strong historical foundation in which to understand each type of movement. It examines movements as a response to the modern world and how they are changing to adapt to the "post-modern" era world.

Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present by Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash
Civil resistance is a highly significant but inadequately understood feature of world politics.

Contemporary Women's Movements in Hungary: Globalization, Democracy, and Gender Equality (Woodrow Wilson Center Press) by Katalin Fábián
Focuses on the role of women's activism in a society where women are not yet adequately represented. Katalin Fábián examines the interactions between women's groups in Hungary.

Power, Resistance and Conflict in the Contemporary World: Social Movements, Networks and Hierarchies (Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics) by Athina Karatzogianni and Andrew Robinson
Examines the operation of network forms of organization in social resistance movements, in relation to the integration of the world system, the intersection of networks and the possibility of social transformation.

Social Movements in China and Hong Kong: The Expansion of Protest Space by Gilles Guiheux and Khun Eng Kuah-Pearce.
That specific protest actions taking place on the mainland and in Hong Kong have enabled both societies to expand their protest space.

Social Movements: An Introduction Book by Donatella Della Porta, Mario Diani
The students' and workers' protests of the 1960s have been followed by movements on women's rights, ethnic identities, peace and environmental issues.

The Politics of Protest : Social Movements in America Book by David S. Meyer
The book addresses such topics as Dorothy Day's Catholic Workers' protest, the Greensboro civil rights sit-in in 1960, and the "Battle in Seattle" anti-globalization rally.

Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action. (Comparative Politics) Book by Mario Diani, Doug McAdam (Editors) - Leading social movement researchers map the full range of applications of network concepts and tools to their field of inquiry.

Power in Movement : Social Movements and Contentious Politics (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics) Book by Sidney Tarrow, Peter Lange, Robert H. Bates, Ellen Comisso, Peter Hall, Joel Migdal, Helen Milner (Series Editors).
The book emphasizes the rise and fall of social movements as part of political struggle and as the outcome of changes in political opportunity structure.

Social Movements in Advanced Capitalism: The Political Economy and Cultural Construction of Social Activism - Steven M. Buechler
Building on a critical overview of current social movement theory, this book presents a structural model for analyzing social movements in advanced capitalism.

Social Movement Theory and Research. - Roberta Garner.
Reviews and explores social movement theory from the end of World War II to the mid-1990s.

Social Movements and Social Classes : The Future of Collective Action (SAGE Studies in International Sociology) Book by Louis Maheu (Editor).
An original contribution to the understanding of social movements, social classes, and collective action.