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SOCIOLOGY TERM PAPER: V FOR VENDETTA “…Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot... But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I've seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them... but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it... ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love... And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man... A man that made me remember the Fifth of November. A man that I will never forget .” For a change to come, there must be a movement. There must be those who are willing to strive for a change—whether good or bad. The movie V for Vendetta exemplifies this in its entirety. There are two social movements in the movie. The first is what is called a resistance movement; the main protagonist V’s group. This group is very reactionary. They seek to reverse changes that have been made or are in the process of occurring, and resistance movements seek to restore traditional economical, governmental and personal values. This definition from the textbook is clearly supported by the definition of resistance movements given by James
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Vander Zanden in his article ‘Resistance and Social Movements’. He says that resistance is not just “cultural persistence….resistance implies behavior on the part of some or all of the members of society…which is directed toward the rejection or circumvention of a social change’. This, obviously, is the function of V’s group. The second social movement is called a revolutionary movement; this group is the group of the main antagonist, High Chancellor Adam Sutler. This group seeks radical changes in the economic, government and personal value systems. This group tries to replace existing social institutions with new ones, and these new social institutions help to form a very different society with very different values. The changes made by Adam Sutler in the movie are the changes that V and his people are working against. The article “A Reconceptualization of the Dynamics of Social Movement Development”, by Harry Hiller, reminds us that social movements are dynamic and volatile. While organization is important, social movements do not necessarily ever experience complete institutionalization. This is important to keep in mind when looking at Adam Sulter’s social movement. Although he managed to take over and control much of the social scene, his social movement was non-institutionalized enough that there were dissenters among the general population and they managed to uproot much of what Adam Sulter put into place.
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