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Portal:Social movements


Social movements

A social movement is a type of group action. Social movements can be defined as "organizational structures and strategies that may empower oppressed populations to mount effective challenges and resist the more powerful and advantaged elites". They are large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues. In other words, they carry out, resist, or undo a social change. They provide a way of social change from the bottom within nations.

Modern Western social movements became possible through education (the wider dissemination of literature) and increased mobility of labor due to the industrialization and urbanization of 19th-century societies. It is sometimes argued that the freedom of expression, education and relative economic independence prevalent in the modern Western culture are responsible for the unprecedented number and scope of various contemporary social movements. However, others point out that many of the social movements of the last hundred years grew up, like the Mau Mau in Kenya, to oppose Western colonialism. Either way, social movements have been and continued to be closely connected with democratic political systems. Occasionally, social movements have been involved in democratizing nations, but more often they have flourished after democratization. Over the past 200 years, they have become part of a popular and global expression of dissent.

Modern movements often utilize technology and the internet to mobilize people globally. Adapting to communication trends is a common theme among successful movements. Research is beginning to explore how advocacy organizations linked to social movements in the U.S. and Canada use social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action. The systematic literature review of Buettner & Buettner analyzed the role of Twitter during a wide range of social movements (2007 WikiLeaks, 2009 Moldova, 2009 Austria student protest, 2009 Israel-Gaza, 2009 Iran green revolution, 2009 Toronto G20, 2010 Venezuela, 2010 Germany Stuttgart21, 2011 Egypt, 2011 England, 2011 US Occupy movement, 2011 Spain Indignados, 2011 Greece Aganaktismenoi movements, 2011 Italy, 2011 Wisconsin labor protests, 2012 Israel Hamas, 2013 Brazil Vinegar, 2013 Turkey).

Political science and sociology have developed a variety of theories and empirical research on social movements. For example, some research in political science highlights the relation between popular movements and the formation of new political parties as well as discussing the function of social movements in relation to agenda setting and influence on politics.

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The conservation movement is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including plant and animal species as well as their habitat for the future.

The early conservation movement included fisheries and wildlife management, water, soil conservation and sustainable forestry. The contemporary conservation movement has broadened from the early movement's emphasis on use of sustainable yield of natural resources and preservation of wilderness areas to include preservation of biodiversity. Some say the conservation movement is part of the broader and more far-reaching environmental movement, while others argue that they differ both in ideology and practice. Chiefly in the United States, conservation is seen as differing from environmentalism in that it aims to preserve natural resources expressly for their continued sustainable use by humans. In other parts of the world conservation is used more broadly to include the setting aside of natural areas and the active protection of wildlife for their inherent value, as much as for any value they may have for humans.

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Rosa Parks in 1955, with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background.

Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) was an African American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress later called "the first lady of civil rights", and "the mother of the freedom movement".

On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Parks' action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Although widely honored in later years for her action, she suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store. Eventually, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she found similar work.

Parks' act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. Parks eventually received many honors ranging from the 1979 Spingarn Medal to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Her death in 2005 was a major story in the United States' leading newspapers. She was granted the posthumous honor of lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda.

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Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp was a peace camp established to protest at nuclear weapons being sited at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. The camp began in September 1981 after a Welsh group called "Women for Life on Earth" arrived at Greenham to protest against the decision of the Government to allow cruise missiles to be based there. The first blockade of the base occurred in May 1982 with 250 women protesting and during which 34 arrests were made. In December 1982, 30,000 Women join hands around the base at the "Embrace the Base" event.

The camp became well known when on 1 April 1983, about 70,000 protesters formed a 14-mile human chain from Greenham to Aldermaston and the ordnance factory at Burghfield. The women's peace camp attracted significant media attention and "prompted the creation of other peace camps at more than a dozen sites in Britain and elsewhere in Europe". Another encircling of the base occurred in Dec 1983, with 50,000 women attending. Sections of the fence were cut and there were hundreds of arrests.

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