Social Movements and Social Change

Read this chapter for a review of social movements and change. As you read each section, consider the following topics:

  • The text asks: "What do Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the anti-globalization movement, and the Tea Party have in common?" Answer this question for yourself.
  • Take note of the different forms of collective behaviors. Also, take note of the different types of crowds.
  • Take note of social movements on a state, national, and global level. Be able to distinguish between different types of social movements, and explore the theoretical perspectives on social movements, such as resource mobilization, framing, and new social movement theory.
  • Take note of how technology, social institutions, population, and the environment can bring about social change. Also, note the importance of modernization in relation to social change.

Key Terms

acting crowds
crowds of people who are focused on a specific action or goal

alternative movements
social movements that limit themselves to self-improvement changes in individuals

assembling perspective
a theory that credits individuals in crowds as behaving as rational thinkers and views crowds as engaging in purposeful behavior and collective action

casual crowds
people who share close proximity without really interacting

collective behavior
a noninstitutionalized activity in which several people voluntarily engage

conventional crowds
people who come together for a regularly scheduled event

a fairly large number of people who share close proximity

the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people

diagnostic framing
a social problem that is stated in a clear, easily understood manner

emergent norm theory
a perspective that emphasizes the importance of social norms in crowd behavior

expressive crowds
crowds who share opportunities to express emotions

flash mob
a large group of people who gather together in a spontaneous activity that lasts a limited amount of time

frame alignment process
using bridging, amplification, extension, and transformation as an ongoing and intentional means of recruiting participants to a movement

a relatively large group with a common interest, even if they may not be in close proximity

the process that increases the amount of specialization and differentiation of structure in societies

motivational framing
a call to action

new social movement theory
a theory that attempts to explain the proliferation of postindustrial and postmodern movements that are difficult to understand using traditional social movement theories

nongovernmental organizations working globally for numerous humanitarian and environmental causes

prognostic framing
social movements that state a clear solution and a means of implementation

an unorganized, relatively diffuse group of people who share ideas

reform movements
movements that seek to change something specific about the social structure

religious/redemptive movements
movements that work to promote inner change or spiritual growth in individuals

resistance movements
those who seek to prevent or undo change to the social structure

resource mobilization theory
a theory that explains social movements’ success in terms of their ability to acquire resources and mobilize individuals

revolutionary movements
movements that seek to completely change every aspect of society

social change
the change in a society created through social movements as well as through external factors like environmental shifts or technological innovations

social movement
a purposeful organized group hoping to work toward a common social goal

social movement industry
the collection of the social movement organizations that are striving toward similar goals

social movement organization
a single social movement group

social movement sector
the multiple social movement industries in a society, even if they have widely varying constituents and goals

value-added theory
a functionalist perspective theory that posits that several preconditions must be in place for collective behavior to occur