The Study of Social Movements. Paper Example

Published: 2023-08-16
The Study of Social Movements. Paper Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Women Feminism Social psychology Social change
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1935 words
17 min read

What relevance does social class have for the study of social movements?

The Marxist ideology of social classes supports the idea of a social movement. While proposing his idea of social classes, he noted that when social classes are formed, a situation known as social mobilization occurs, whereby the people in the same social classes come together to form unions that address their issues effectively (Della Porta & Diani, 2020). Therefore, they will form unions in which their concerns will be addressed, and thus their social classes would become stronger. When they are in social movements that address the issues affecting their social classes, the social groups will be thinking collectively. That is where society may affect social movements.

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The effect of social classes on social Movement can be seen in the development of urbanization and the growth of towns and other urban centers. Whenever people from the lower class of society moved to find employment, they would create settlements in the areas where they would set up, creating the ideology of social Movement. When the conditions that motivated their Movement to that particular area are diminished, they will tend to move from the area. In contrast, if the conditions improve, more social class members would move into the area (Della Porta & Diani, 2020). Additionally, the upper class of society tends to move towards one location, where they can live amid other wealthy people. The areas that the high class move into tend to be less populous than those occupied by the lower class, and they tend to be more secure than those occupied by the lower class. Social class is relevant in the study of social movements since it offers insights on the motivation for Movement. While the lower class mostly move for accessing employment opportunities in the areas they are moving to, the upper class of society tends to move to areas where they can get more spaces on which to expand their properties and enjoy their lives more (Della Porta & Diani, 2020). The social classes are also important in studying social movements since they offer the learner the opportunity to explore the characteristics of the social movements, whereby the lower class does the movements are unstructured and unplanned for, with them opting to move immediately they find new opportunities in other areas. On the other hand, movements in the upper class are structured, planned for, and not abrupt.

What is power? Why is it important to analyze power when looking at social movements?

Weber’s definition of power has been widely accepted and used by sociologists. He defined power as the ability of people or a community of people to achieve their set goals despite the resistance they face in their attempts. Power can be authoritative, whereby people recognize the power in the person in authority and submit to their rule and leadership without being forced to do so. On the other hand, power can also be coercive, whereby the people in authority force the subjects to accept their leadership despite their opinions on the people in authority. Power is manifested in three different forms; charismatically, traditionally, and rational-legally. When power is manifested in a charismatic form, the leaders' traits are the most critical aspect of the leadership, since the subjects look up to the leader for motivation. They believe in their leaders' abilities based on their charisma and the confidence they instill in them when they are in power (Duyvendak, 2019). When the leadership is manifested through traditional means, it means that there are conventional customs from which the power is passed through and that there are traditional aspects, practices, and beliefs in the leadership style being portrayed, even if the society in question is in a modern setting. Finally, power is manifested in a rational-legal way, whereby the people in authority are given power through the consent of the people that they are responsible, and that the people under their power use their rationalization and cognitive abilities to make decisions on whether or not to follow the instructions that the people in authority give them.

Social Movement is directly influenced by power. Social Movement, especially that of the lower class of the society, comes from their numbers. Since society is mostly made up of the lower class, they are more likely to determine their movements since their numbers make them hard to manage (Swidler, 2000). Additionally, the functional role played by the lower social class provides for their power to move as they wish in the society that they are in. Since they offer the labor required in the society, the lower class can move as the availability of jobs dictates. Therefore, they are indirectly being moved around through the financial power the upper class possesses and who owns the resources to set up and run the industries which provide the employment opportunities for the parties concerned.

Secondly, the social movements are affected by power when the formation of alliances is meant to provide the needed moral support and influence required by the parties to determine their movements. When the social groups form movements to agitate for their rights, ideologies, and thoughts, they end up creating strong movements through which they can enable their movements without the restrictions placed on individuals or groups that are not part of a social movement. Therefore, it can be concluded that the groups do not possess any power until when they form organizations that will help them to systemically address the issues that they face, like the restrictions that they may be facing when it comes to Movement.

There can also be sociopolitical and economic powers that can be used in restricting or encouraging Movement in and out of certain areas. Since the upper class of society possesses the economic power in the communities that they are in, they can dictate the directions that society will take. For example, since they possess economic power, they can make some areas expensive to possess, restricting the movement of people into the regions. Additionally, since they are the landowners and landlords in the society, they are further in a position to determine the Movement of the society into certain areas through the setting of prices of land and rents, thereby dictating the social class that would be in a position to move into the said areas (Swidler, 2000). Additionally, due to the political power that is synonymous with the economic power found in the first-class members of society, the members of the upper class are in a position to set laws, rules, and regulations that would be important in governing the movements in and out of areas in the society. Through the use of rules, laws, directives, and decrees, the upper class uses the rational-legal manifestation and application of power, whereby people are notified of the regulations regarding the movement of people into or out of certain areas. Therefore they will use their cognizance and rational thinking to decide whether or not to adhere to the set rules and regulations. Thus, the punishments set in place when one breaks the statutes direct the laws that keep people from moving since people react better when there is punishment for breaking the laws.

The Women's Suffrage Movement

The Women's Suffrage movement came into being in 1848 after the women’s rights conference held in Seneca. After its formation, the Movement's members spent almost five decades trying to educate the public on the importance of women's inclusion in the society, especially the issues around the right for women to vote during elections (McCammon et al., 2001). The Movement lobbied for the rights of women and even pushed for laws in Congress for women's rights to be addressed. Due to the pressure exerted on the government by the two lobbies group under the women suffrage movement, NAWSA, and NWP, the right for women to participate in the electoral process in the US was finally approved on August 18, 1920.

The Suffrage movement is an excellent example of a social movement since it sought to address a specific issue in society: the rights of women to participate in elections and to have a voice in the electoral process. This process brought women together since they felt that they had been clustered into a social class of their own, thus bringing in the need for them to collectively fight for their rights (McCammon et al., 2001). They came together to carry out protests that would enable them to overcome the challenge of women being denied the right to vote and undoing the social injustice that was going on, that is, denying them the right to vote.

The rise of the Anti-Suffragism Movement came as a result of the people who were against the suffrage movement and the ideals it stood for. The Movement sought to keep the conditions as they were for women since they were mostly made up of conservative members. The latter still believed that women needed to stick to doing domestic duties instead of getting involved in the socio-political or economic issues of society. The resistance was also strengthened by the rise of domestic feminism, which believed that although women had a right to be heard, their scope of control was to be only within their homes. Any decisions outside the homes were left for the men to decide upon (McCammon et al., 2001). There were several reasons why the Women Suffrage Movement faced such resistance, one of which is the intimidation that men felt even when women were not in leadership positions. Therefore they could not risk having the women with such power since they would overshadow them. Secondly, they felt that the women would not be objective in their decisions since they may be overcome by their feelings, sentiments, and emotions. Additionally, the Movement was resisted because the rates of marriage and family breakups were increasing, and they associated the Movement was responsible for the breakdown of societal beliefs and practices. Additionally, it was argued that the female mind was destructive, leading to conflicts and chaos if they were given leadership positions.

The Women’s Suffrage Movement countered these arguments against them by pointing out that the female point of view was crucial in making decisions that affected them, children, and families in general. Also, they argued that they needed a voice in framing the laws being created and amending those in place to suit the needs of women. They also felt it unfair that despite some women in society owning property and paying taxes, they still lacked representation on women in the public offices, thus lacking people who knew the challenges that women property owners face in society (Hume, 2016). When the women saw that their voices were not being heard, they decided to mobilize themselves even more so that their voices could be heard. The Women Suffrage Movement benefited from the framing and organization process, which helped the Movement to achieve the intended goals in the end. The Movement mobilized its members from the grassroots, and the more significant representations were found in the state levels (Hume, 2016). This way, the Movement's beliefs and the motivational factors behind it were spread to the majority of the women in society. This way, the Movement's following grew, therefore creating mass knowledge on the Movement, its objectives, and a feeling of collective responsibility to work towards achieving its goals. The Movement also held meetings and seminars across the United States to push for more awareness of the women agitating. Persistence was key in this Movement since they had to remain persistent despite the resistance that they faced against the Movement.

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