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Confronting Authority Collectively: An introduction to Social Movements in the late 20th & early 21st Century ACTUp/PETA demonstration in DC, 1996
What are social movements? Sustained, collective, & public challenges by ordinary people to authorities and/or the established social order, including some extra-institutional tactics
Key elements of social movements: • The collective activity is a challenge to the pre-existing political, economic, or social status quo • Challenge is sustained over a lengthy period of time • Collective activity is primarily but not exclusively fueled by ordinary people (not elites) • The collective challenge is public • The activity involves at least some use of extra-institutional tactics
Soc. Movements: Challenge Act Up’s Action at the Vatican Mission to the U.N., New York, October 29th, 2003 Ruckus in Seattle. Photo: The Ruckus Society
Soc. Movements: sustained The Abolitionist movement to stop the death penalty, dating back to the late 19th century. Above, anti-death penalty protesters march towards the jail in Terre Haute, Indiana on June 10 2001, a day before the execution there of Timothy McVeigh.Photo: Michael Conroy, AP AntiAbortion/Pro-Life Demonstrators… Fighting Roe V Wade since 1973
Social Movements: collective Bangladeshi Opponents of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, 2002.
Soc. Movements: ordinary people (mostly) The March on Washington, 1963
Soc. Movements: (include some) extra-institutional protest Photos: http://www.circleoflifefoundation.org
What’s the difference between a social movement and a …. • Revolution? • Insurrection? • Terrorist attack? • Electoral campaign? • coup d’etat?
Social Movements Always Include a triangle of relations between: Remember! 1- participants 2- power holders who are the objects of the claims 3- subject populations on whose behalf activists are making claims (Charles Tilly)
Is it a movement?A formula from Prof. Tilly W x U x N x C = strength
A female demonstrator offers a flower to military police on guard at the Pentagon during an anti-Vietnam demonstration in 1967.National Archives and Records Administration Two soldiers awaiting a helicopter to evacuate their fallen comrade from the jungle covered hills in Long Khanh Province.By Pfc. L. Paul Epley, 1966National Archives and Records Administration.
What are the Building Blocks of Social Movements? Who or what, in other words, actually makes up a social movement? What sorts of institutions, organizations, etc.?
Who has ever participated in a social movement?
Uses of social movement theory • Explanatory and predictive value • Encourages us to include informal politics and ordinary people in political analysis • Encourages cross-national comparisons • Provides common vocabulary & set of concepts
Problems with current social movement theory? • Grounded in mostly non-violent “western” case studies • Focus on “good” social movements • Excludes ethnic and national movements • Overly descriptive; not predictive enough?