Discuss the Meaning, Types and Components of Social Movements

Discuss the Meaning, Types and Components of Social Movements

Social movements are organizations to achieve social and political goals. Social movements occur either to bring change or resist change depending upon the situation. It is the coming together of people who share a common outlook or agenda to achieve the desired goal. 

According to Anderson and Parker, social movement is

“a form of dynamic pluralistic behaviour which progressively develops structure through time and aims at partial or complete modification of the social order.”

Anderson and Parker

According to Sidney Tarrow, social movement is

“Collective challenges [to elites, authorities, other groups or cultural codes] by people with common purposes and solidarity in sustained interactions with elites, opponents and authorities.”

Sidney Tarrow

John McCarthy and Mayer Zald define social movement as

“A set of opinions and beliefs in a population which represents preferences for changing some elements of the social structure and/or reward distribution of a society.”

John McCarthy and Mayer Zald

Types of Social Movements 

Social movements can be of several types depending upon the circumstances. The different types of social movements are:

Reform Movements 

This is the most common form of social movement. It is formed to bring some changes in the economic, political and social system of a nation. It seeks to bring changes in some parts of the society without changing it completely. The desired change is targeted for every member of the society. 

Revolutionary Movements

The movement is formed to change the entire society. It seeks to overthrow the current social system and bring about a new one. It tries to gain control over the state. It supports radical changes and aims to bring new changes in the existing government. 

Resistance Movements 

This form of movement is an effort to stop a change that’s already been achieved. It criticizes the fast changes in society and tries to prevent it from happening. 

Alternative Movements 

This type of movement is formed for self-improvement. It focuses on people trying to improve their lives. It aims to bring specific changes in the behaviour and beliefs of an individual. 

Components of Social Movements 

  • i). It is a collective effort of a group to bring or prevent change.
  • ii). Social movements can be organized or disorganized.
  • iii). Social movements can last for a long time or disappear soon. 
  • iv). The movement can be peaceful or violent. 
  • v). Social groups are created under a common understanding of social reality.
  • vi). The movements formed are related to social or political issues.