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New Social Movements

New Social Movements. www.educationforum.co.uk. What is a New Social Movement. Share many similarities with outsider pressure groups, and may be ‘movements’ made up of pressure groups, BUT

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New Social Movements

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  1. New Social Movements www.educationforum.co.uk

  2. What is a New Social Movement Share many similarities with outsider pressure groups, and may be ‘movements’ made up of pressure groups, BUT • Tend to be concerned with non economic non material issues – morality – feminism, peace, poverty, equality, environment. • Tend to be international or global in their outlook • Less structure and formally organised than pressure groups – no leaders or hierarchies or memberships

  3. Classifying NSMs Simon Hallsworthidentifies 2 types of NSM based the types of issue they promote 1. NSMs which are focussed on defending aspects of the natural and social environment e.g. environmentalism, the peace movement, animal rights 2. NSMs which are focussed on gaining equal rights for minority and marginalised groups – feminism, civil rights, gay rights, disability rights

  4. Organisation • NSMs tend to be informal and fragmented compared to OSMs • NSMs are ‘movements’ often made up of groups of well established pressure groups – environmentalism is made up of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth etc. • NSMs tend to be wary and suspicious of elected politicians and civil servants rather than directly seeking their support • NSMs tend not to have formal structures or memberships – supporters form informal networks often joined together by internet technology – e.g. anti capitalist demonstrations 1999 in over 80 countries simultaneously organised via internet • The pressure groups which can make up NSMs can often act very like traditional pressure groups but are also far more likely to engage in direct action • NSMs aim to change CULTURE (the values of everyone) not just the decisions of government

  5. How have NSMs been Explained • Giddens claims NSMs are a response to globalisation – globalisation has resulted in risks/issues which transcend national boundaries many of which are caused by the decisions of the rich and powerful – pollution, rising oceans, oil spills, nuclear accidents • Faced with these global ‘risks’ Gidens claims people have lost faith with national governments and turned to NSMs as the most effective form of political participation • Note – membership of environmental groups is FAR greater than membership of political parties in the UK today

  6. Postmodernity • Pakulski and Waters claim that the rise of NSMs is a sign of a postmodern society • They claim that in such a society a process of class decomposition is occurring – class is becoming less and less important • Politics is therefore becoming less concerned with issues surrounding class and more concerned with issues around lifestyle and identity. NSMs reflect these fundamental changes • Mass media is seen as an important agent of postmodernisation – media treats issues on a global scale not a national scale and people become more global in their outlook

  7. Post Industrial Society • Post modernists such as Crook suggest that Britain has become a post industrial society • People no longer work in manufacturing (primary and secondary industry), instead they work in leisure, education and services (the tertiary sectors) • Because of this values have changed form materialist values (class, money, advancement) to post-materialist values (self expression, freedom, identity, lifestyle) • Post materialist values are reflected in NSMs – gay rights, disability rights

  8. Marxist Interpretation • Marxists reject the idea of post modern and post industrial society • NSMs instead are seen as a global and conscious response to the global nature of capitalism • Alex Callinicos suggests that the only NSMs of any lasting significance will be the anti global capitalist movement which draws protestor to an understanding of the ‘true’ cause of world problems – i.e. capitalism, and raises consciousness about the world wide exploitation of the working class

  9. How significant are NSMs? • Giddens claims that NSMs have revitalised politics at a time when OSMs are in decline • Rise of NSMs seen as evidence against political apathy • Global nature of NSMs has changed the nature of political protest – some engage in ‘netwars’ using the internet to attack the powerful – some concern at the revolutionary and radical nature of such campaigns – a threat to nation states? • NSMs might be becoming important players on the global political stage

  10. Questioning the Significance of NSMs • Paul Hirst suggests that the influence of NSMs is still quite limited • OSMs – parties, pressure groups, trade unions day to day still wield the most power • NSMs only achieve influence on single issue level

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