We know that social movements can occur on the local, national, or even global stage. Are there other patterns or classifications that can help us understand them? Sociologist David Aberle (1966) addresses this question, developing categories that distinguish among social movements based on what they want to change and how much change they want. seek to change something specific about the social structure. Examples include anti-nuclear groups, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC). seek to completely change every aspect of society. These would include Cuban 26th of July Movement (under Fidel Castro), the 1960s counterculture movement, as well as anarchist collectives. are “meaning seeking,” and their goal is to provoke inner change or spiritual growth in individuals. Organizations pushing these movements might include Alcoholics Anynymous, New Age, or Christian fundamentalist groups. are focused on self-improvement and limited, specific changes to individual beliefs and behaviour. These include groups like the Slow Food movement, Planned Parenthood, and barefoot jogging advocates. seek to prevent or undo change to the social structure. The Ku Klux Klan and pro-life movements fall into this category. (Source: Introduction to sociology, Open textbook)
When members of a society become dissatisfied or frustrated with their social, economic, and political situation, they yearn for changes. Social scientists have long noted that the actual conditions that people live under may not be at fault, but people's perceptions of their conditions are. Relative deprivation refers to the negative perception that differences exist between wants and actualities. In other words, people may not actually be deprived when they believe they are. A relatively deprived group is disgruntled because they feel less entitled or privileged than a particular reference group. For example, a middle‐class family may feel relatively deprived when they compare their house to that of their upper‐class physician.
For social discontent to translate into social movement, members of the society must feel that they deserve, or have a right to, more wealth, power, or status than they have. The dissatisfied group must also conclude that it cannot attain its goals via conventional methods, whether or not this is the case. The group will organize into a social movement only if it feels that collective action will help its cause.
The relative‐deprivation theory takes criticism from a couple of different angles. First, some sociologists note that feelings of deprivation do not necessarily prompt people into acting. Nor must people feel deprived before acting. Moreover, this theory does not address why perceptions of personal or group deprivation cause some people to reform society, and why other perceptions do not. (source)
Resource mobilisation deals with how social movements mobilise resources: political pull, mass media, personnel, money, and so forth. A particular movement's effectiveness and success largely depends on how well it uses its resources.
Members of a social movement normally follow a charismatic leader, who mobilises people for a cause. Charisma can fade, and many social movements collapse when this happens. Other movements, such as bureaucratic ones, manage to last, however, usually because they are highly organised.
Norms of behaviour develop as people become part of a social movement. The movement may require its members to dress in special ways, boycott certain products, pay dues, attend marches or rallies, recruit new members, and use new language. Concerning the latter, recent social movements have given rise to new terms like Hispanic American, African American, feminists, and psychiatrically disabled.
For a social movement to succeed, leaders must heighten their followers' awareness of oppression. To stimulate their social movement in the 1960s and 1970s, feminists convinced women that they were being discriminated against in various arenas, including work, school, and home.
Unlike the relative‐deprivation theory, the resource‐mobilisation theory emphasises the strategic problems faced by social movements. Specifically, any movement designed to stimulate fundamental changes will surely face resistance to its activities. Critics feel the theory does not adequately discuss the issue of how opposition influences the actions and direction of social movements. (source)
And we know that, sooner or later, things will start to change. Not just for us, but for humanity as a whole. This system that we all live in may continue to dominate us for a couple more centuries - who knows how long - but we believe in the transformative power that humans possess. Things weren’t always how they are today and things won’t always be this way in the future. Things change, they transform. Empires are born and they eventually die. Political and economic systems eventually fade away. (An interview with Gerardo Cerdas by Beverly Bell, 2014)
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What is the difference between mass hysteria and moral panic?
Technically, mass hysteria involves physical effects, such as changes in behavior or physical well-being. Moral panic, on the other hand, is the term used to describe a state of panic induced in a large number of people who feel that a societal norm is being seriously threatened.
Hysteria is a diagnostic label applied to a state of mind, one of unmanageable fear or emotional excesses. People who are "hysterical" often lose self-control due to the overwhelming fear.
The term also occurs in the phrase mass hysteria to describe mass public near-panic reactions. It is commonly applied to the waves of popular medical problems that everyone gets in response to news articles, such as the yuppy flu of the late 1980s. A similar usage refers to any sort of public wave phenomenon, and has been used to describe the periodic widespread reappearance and public interest in UFO reports, crop circles, and similar examples.
Hysteria is often associated with movements like the Salem Witch Trials, the Red Scare, McCarthyism, and Satanic ritual abuse, where it is better understood through the related sociological term of moral panic.
Mass hysterias can also exhibit themselves in the sudden onset of psychogenic illnesses, or illnesses that are the result of psychology and not an external source (e.g., like a pollutant or infectious agent). A recent example of psychogenic illness resulting from mass hysteria occurred in Jilin, China in 2009 when hundreds of workers at an acrylic yarn factory began to fall ill. Doctors in China determined that, for most of those who fell ill, there were no physical indications of poisoning, which is what the workers claimed caused the illness.
Panic is a sudden terror which dominates thinking and often affects groups of people. Panics typically occur in disaster situations, such as during a fire, and may endanger the overall health of the affected group. Architects and city planners try to accommodate the symptoms of panic, such as herd behavior, during design and planning, often using simulations to determine the best way to lead people to a safe exit.
A moral panic is a mass movement based on the perception that some individual or group, frequently a minority group or a subculture, poses a menace to society. These panics are generally fuelled by media coverage of social issues (although semi-spontaneous moral panics do occur and some moral panics have historically been fueled by religious missions, governmental campaigns, and scientific mobilizing against minority groups that used media outlets to further their claims), and often include a large element of mass hysteria. A moral panic is specifically framed in terms of morality, and usually expressed as outrage rather than unadulterated fear. Though not always, very often moral panics revolve around issues of sex and sexuality. A widely circulated and new-seeming urban legend is frequently involved. These panics can sometimes lead to mob violence. The term was coined by Stanley Cohen in 1972 to describe media coverage of Mods and Rockers in the United Kingdom in the 1960s.
Recent moral panics in the UK have included the ongoing tabloid newspaper campaign against pedophiles, which led to the assault and persecution of a pediatrician by an angry, if semi-literate, mob in August 2000, and that surrounding the murder of James Bulger in Liverpool, England in 1993. (See this page for examples of moral panic.) (Source)
The Dakota Pipeline
Occupy Wall Street
Animal rights movements
The anti-globalisation movement
Gay liberation movement
Anti-nuclear movement in Australia
Klu Klux Klan
Black civil rights movement
Farm to table social movement