Social Movements Explored

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A social movement is an association of people who are connected with shared interests to affect or stimulates a social modification. It is not palpable that they are to be formally organized, but they can work independently to achieve the set social goals. The key areas where the social movement operates in the modern societies include the democratic movement which fights for human rights in politics, the labour or workers movement that works to fight for the rights of employees or workers, ecological movements which are solely responsible for the protection of the ecosystem and peace movements that is in charge of letting peace and harmony prevail among a people.

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There are divergent types of social movement that allow the achievement of the obligation of the activists. Vignette classified them in accordance with characteristics and they include organizing a movement which can bring change to some of the situations and conditions which the masses are grieving from, they also tried to identify the magnitude of change an action can produce. The change advocated here can be from the individual point of view or the societal perspective. Therefore, main types of revolutions can be categorized into two broad categories. They include limited and radical social movements. Limited social movement types composed of alternate social movements and reformative social movements. Besides, the radical movements comprise of redemptive and social movements.

The social movement process follows stages which are essential for the achievement of goals and objectives. The stages will include emergence, coalescence, bureaucratization, and decline.The last stage(decline stage) can result from different causes which include cooptation, success failure, repression and mainstream which changes the way individual feel and react to the current policies and or rules. Many times, social movements are organized when all the society are being succumbed to a daring and un-conducive situations by the authorities. They are organized to save people from social oppression and or to bring or resist change in the society. The life of the movement is not absolute and can last as long as the unwanted law, policy or behavior still in existence. A social movement is caused by various factors which result to social unrests among the participants and the non-participants. These unrests can be arising from cultural drifts, social disorganizations, and social injustice.

Cultural drifts: As the society undergoes under radical changes, the behavior of individuals also varies proportionately to the changing circumstances and situations. They adopt a new way of doing things and abandon the old ideas. In many circumstances, those in authority might resist change and try to formulate policies so as to shun it. Therefore, the community will then form a movement through an activist who is a leader to fight for the rights of the whole society and get the new positive ideas work. The primary examples of social drifts mainly include the provision of equal chances for both sexes in different sectors, development of democratic societies, the emancipation of women, the advocating for mass or civic education and removal of untouchability. Thus, if those in authority cannot obey the plea and cry for the society, then the social movement can turn to be violent instead of being peaceful.

Social disorganization: When changes take place in the society, it does not happen in all sectors or regions of the economy. It thus brings disorganization in a mode the community operates. Owing the fact that one region or sector will change so rapidly than the other sectors, it thus lead to numerous lags that cause a lot of social problems and unrests. Besides, it also brings uncertainty and confusion in the societies since the old traditional norms take no control in shaping the behavior of the society hence some individual becomes rootless. They will have a feeling of isolation and stigmatization in the society. They will also feel that the community leaders have no intellectual empathy and do not listen to their needs and all other social wants. They will eventually feel insecure, frustrated and confused hence develop a social movement to fight for their rights.

Social injustices: When the society feels that their rights have been violated, they feel intimidated and alienated. The feeling then leads to the emergence of social movements to arise. The feelings cover both the poor and the rich who combine efforts and resources to fight for the change which facilitates the social wellbeing of the citizens. Many a time, a social movement arises when there is instability in the society. It is evident that in a stable society, the social movement groups are very few as compared to the unstable communities.

The disadvantaged groups in the society whose rights are being advocated for by the social group can be supported In various ways so that they can stop feeling dejected, alienated and languishing in pain and anxiety. Through advocacy processes, the rights of these personages can be attained through policy monitoring and public accountancy, indulging in the policy dialogue to help in mainstreaming some rules that violate human rights, engagement in campaigns for policy change and building the advocacy capacity of the stakeholders groups. For example, during the social segregation in the USA, Martin Luther King formed movements which aimed at restoring equality and restoration of worth among the Negro community. It was very significant since a section of an American citizen was undergoing over a period of exclusion and segregation which made them feel abandoned and used up. Thus, when methods and strategies were well implemented and supported to operate, then the plight of the disadvantaged will be enhanced. As a result, there will be no or minimal formation of these social movements since the individual wants will have been satisfied.


Social movements are very prime in the refurbishment of human wellbeing and rights. By the use of different types of social movement to mobilize for the rights of the oppressed, then the plight of those who feel they are not incorporated in the system will restore their trust to the authority or the governing body. Moreover, when all stages of social movement are followed without any difficulty, then the objective of the social movement will be achieved. Therefore, a social movement is solely responsible for the restoration of all the rights which the oppressed faces in their daily lives. Support should be given to these groups if at all they fight for the sake of the society. The needs of these people should be advocated for by the means of various methods such as policy monitoring, policy dialogue, holding campaigns for policy change and building the capacity of these disadvantaged groups.


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United Nations. (2002). Human rights: A compilation of international instruments. New York: Author.

Women's Rights Project (Human Rights Watch), Human Rights Watch (Organization). (1995).The Human Rights Watch global report on women's human rights. New York: Human Rights Watch.

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