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Social Movements

Social Movements

Author: Zach Lamb

Differentiate between the four types of social movements. 

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello. Welcome to Sociological Studies. I hope you're having a great day. In this lesson we're going to discuss social movements, and we're going to put different kinds of social movements on a typology.

I have this typology behind me. It was originally given to us by Aberle, and we're going to fill in it. But first, let's explain the typology.

We're going to typologize movements by how much change they're seeking. Are they seeking big, massive changes in society, or little changes? And so then that's one measure.

The other measure is, who is change? Who is change directed at? Is it directed at trying to change individuals, or are we trying to change everyone, society as a whole?

So in this corner-- big changes for society as a whole. And in this corner, we have little changes directed at individuals. So it's more specific in movement goals.

So first-- alterative social movements. An alterative social movement in a social movement aimed at small changes for a small number of people. And an example of an alterative social movement is Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.

What they're seeking then is most specific, limited change for individuals. They're trying to get individuals to just make changes and not to drive drunk. That's not asking all that much, and it's asking it of individuals. So this is a specific, limited kind of social change, and it's not taking on big structures. It's micro-focused.

Second, we have redemptive social movements, or a social movement aimed at big changes in a small number of people. And an example of a redemptive social movement is Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous then, if you've ever known anybody that's gone through this treatment, alcohol treatment or drug treatment of any kind for that matter, you know that they're making huge changes in their lives.

There atoning for past sins, redeeming themselves. That's how this movement gets its name. A redemptive social movement is usually aimed at redeeming some past damage. So typology here, then we have big changes for individuals, for a small number of people.

Next, we have reformative social movements, or small changes for a big number of people. And the environmental movement is an example of this. We're at this stage right now with the environmental movement.

So everyone makes small changes, like recycle. Everyone reduce their carbon emissions. Everyone carry reusable bags. If we could just get everyone to eat local food-- this is what a reformative moment is after, little changes for everyone to produce then a cumulative big result.

Finally, revolutionary social movements, which asks big changes for society as a whole, a huge overthrow, a revolution. So a socialist revolution-- so we transition out of capitalism, have a revolution. We have socialism. That would be huge changes for everybody. Or going the other way, a bunch of former Soviet countries made the transition to capitalism after the Berlin Wall fell-- big changes for everybody. So this is a revolutionary social movement.

In this lesson then, we filled in Aberle's typology of social movements and typologized them based on what kind of changes they were seeking, whether it was society-based changes or individual-based changes, and how much change they were asking of either society or individuals. Thank you for tuning in.

Terms to Know
Alternative Social Movement

A social movement aimed at small change for a small number of people (i.e. Mother's Against Drunk Driving, or MADD).

Redemptive Social Movement

A social movement aimed at big change in a small number of people (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous).

Reformative Social Movement

A social movement aimed at small changes for a large number of people, or for society as a whole (i.e. the environmental movement).

Revolutionary Social Movement

A social movement aimed at big changes for everyone in society (i.e. a socialist revolution.)