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Dec7 - SOCIOLOGY101 Social Movements and Social Change...

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SOCIOLOGY 101    Introduction to Sociology
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Social Movements and Social Change
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What is Social Change? A shift in the characteristics of culture and society
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How does social change take place? Cultural Evolution: each society evolves from simpler to more complex forms Natural Cycles: likens civilizations to organisms (birth-maturity-decline) Result of technological change: technological determinism e.g., plow agricultural soc, steam engine industrial rev, microchip information rev) Struggle for Power: recurring power struggle leads to continual social change
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Social movements and social change Conscious, concerted, and relatively sustained efforts by organized groups of ordinary persons to change (promote or resist) some aspect of their society by extra- institutional means
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Why movements?   Why do people need movements? Issues of disadvantage, power differentials Why do people think they need movements? Issues of interests, grievance formation, ideologies. Why are people able to form movements? Issues of resources, capacities, opportunities. Why do movements succeed? Issues of opportunity, strategy. Why do movements rise and fall? Issues of coevolution, dynamics.
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Choosing Sides, Choosing Theory There is a broad tendency to use different theories for movements we agree with and those we disagree with Our own movements Respond to core principles of justice, morality and characterized by clear thinking. Principal focus on identifying the most effective forms of action Opponents Irrational, deluded even motivated by evil OR cynical, hiding their true motives Principal focus on explaining how people could think such things, or on exposing the “true” sources of the movement
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Choosing Sides  (continued) Goal is to treat movements as even-handedly as possible in our theory, use the same theories for all movements, or be able to explain theoretically why they differ This does NOT mean we give up our capacity to form political or moral judgments about right and wrong
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Basic Definitions Protest = the act of challenging, resisting, or making demands upon authorities, powerholders, and/or cultural beliefs and practices by some individual or group Social movement = a collective, organized, sustained, and noninstitutional challenge to authorities, powerholders, or cultural beliefs and practices. Revolutionary movement = a social movement that seeks, at a minimum, to overthrow the government or state
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Different ways of defining  movements As groups of people--but a movement can continue as the people in it come and go As a (single) challenge that lasts a long time-- but misses the complexity of movements As preferences for change--but although the preferences bound a movement, they are not the thing itself Social movement: a complex set of collective campaigns and other collective events broadly oriented to the same general goal Emphasis on complexity, diffuse boundaries Competing definitions, orientations within the movement
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