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Chapter 15 Social Change
Chapter Outline §How Societies Change §Collective Behavior §Social Movements §Technology §Where This Leaves Us
How Societies Change § Social change is defined as any significant modification or transformation of social structures or institutions over time. § Three potential sources of social change: ◦ collective behavior ◦ social movements ◦ technology
Collective Behavior These fans of the Twilight films are participating in collective behavior. Spontaneous group action in a situation that lacks clear cultural rules for behavior is called collective behavior.
Social Movements § A social movement is an ongoing, goal- § directed effort to fundamentally challenge social institutions, attitudes, or ways of life. ◦ organized ◦ relatively broad-based ◦ long-term ◦ intended to foster social change May include meetings, fund-raisers, legislative lobbying, letter-writing campaigns, sit-ins, demonstrations, or even riots.
Social Movements Types of social movements: §Alternative movements – focus on making small changes to individual beliefs or activities §Redemptive movements – aim to make fundamental change to individual beliefs or activities Reformist movements – aim to make partial change in society, leaving most social structures intact Revolutionary movements – aim to make fundamental change to a society § §
Collective behavior and social movements are connected in important ways… § Both challenge the status quo. § They are related in two ways: ◦ Social movements need and encourage collective behavior to keep issues in the public eye. ◦ Collective behavior can be part of a repeated mass response to problematic conditions and may be a force in mobilizing social movements.
Social Movements Theoretical Perspectives on Social Movements Structural-Functional Theory: §Relative deprivation argues that social movements arise when people experience an intolerable gap between their rewards and their expectations. ◦ Relies on the disorganizing effects of social change; often referred to as breakdown theory ◦ Assumes that under normal circumstances, society functions smoothly
Structural-Functional Theory: Relative Deprivation Expectations, Rewards, and Relative Deprivation This theory suggests that relative deprivation exists whenever there is a gap between expectations (E) and rewards (R). It may occur when the rewards available decline (condition A), when rewards level off (condition B), or even when rewards steadily increase (condition C).
Relative-Deprivation Theory: Limitations 1. Empirical evidence does not bear out the prediction that those who are most deprived will be the ones most likely to participate in social movement. 2. Fails to specify the conditions under which relative deprivation will lead to social movements.
Social Movements Theoretical Perspectives on Social Movements Conflict Theory: §Resource mobilization argues that social movements develop when individuals who experience deprivation garner the resources they need to mobilize for action. ◦ The spark for turning deprivation into a movement is not anger and resentment, but rather organization. ◦ The movement building blocks are organized groups with resourced leaders—not alienated, discontented individuals.
Social Movements Theoretical Perspectives on Social Movements Symbolic Interaction Theory: §Political process suggests that a social movement needs two factors: 1. Political opportunities include pre-existing organizations that can provide the movement with leaders, members, phone lines, copying machines, and other resources. 2. Insurgent consciousness is the individual sense that change is needed and possible.
Symbolic Interaction: Political Process The “immigrants’ rights” movement in the U. S. reflects insurgent consciousness—the belief that change in the system is both needed and possible— among both immigrants and their supporters. § Individuals develop their sense of identity and of the possibility of change through interaction with others.
Social Movements Why Movements Succeed or Fail § Successful SMs achieve their goals and win acceptance. Success is most likely if they have: 1. diverse organizations using diverse tactics 2. sufficient resources to mobilize 3. attractive ideology and goal frames § Unsuccessful: 1. When ideology gains acceptance but real change does not follow, SMOs are co-opted. 2. When goals are adopted but SM is denigrated by those in power, SMOs are pre-empted.
Social Movement Outcomes According to William Gamson, there are four possible outcomes of social movements. These outcomes depend on whether the movement achieves its goals and whether it gains acceptance from society at large.
Social Movements Why Movements Succeed or Fail Diverse Organizations and Tactics: SMOs can be organized as professional or volunteer. § § Existence of both within SM network aids success of a social movement: ◦ Professional SMOs are useful for soliciting resources and building institutional supports. ◦ Volunteer SMOs are useful for maintaining a sense of grievance and publicizing the cause through public protest.
Social Movements Why Movements Succeed or Fail Mobilizing Resources: Mobilization is the process through which a social movement gains significantly in the control of assets it did not previously control. § § Assets are resources that might include members, goods, money, technologies, expertise, or even weapons.
Social Movements Why Movements Succeed or Fail Frame Alignment: §Frame alignment is the process of convincing individuals that their interests, values, and beliefs are complementary to those of the SMO. Key factors in recruitment to an SMO are personal ties and networks of like-minded others. §
Sociology and you… If a missionary has ever tried to convince you to save your soul by joining his religion, that missionary was engaging in frame alignment: trying to convince you that your interests and those of his movement overlap. The same is true whenever someone running for student government or someone hoping you will join Greenpeace tries to convince you that the interests, values, and beliefs of the organization mesh well with yours.
Social Movements Countermovements § An SM that seeks to reverse or resist changes promoted by another SM is a countermovement. § Likely to develop if three conditions met: 1. Initial SM has achieved moderate success. 2. Individuals must feel that their power, status, or social values are threatened by SM. 3. Individuals who feel threatened by SM can find powerful allies (politicians, institutions, unions, other major social groups) that align against the SM.
Social Movements and Countermovements As these anti-abortion and pro-choice protesters illustrate, whenever a social movement (i. e. , pro-choice) succeeds in creating social change, a countermovement (i. e. , anti-abortion) is likely to develop.
Social Movements Case Study: How the Environmental Movement Works The Battle over Environmental Policy: Both professional and volunteer; moderate and radical SMOs help to push the EM goals forward. The Future of the Environmental Movement: EM had many successes before the 1980 s. Probusiness sentiment eroded EM support. In 2009, Americans rated economic recovery as more important than protecting the environment. This trend continued in 2011. EM is working to elect officials who support EM issues.
Environmental activism has taken many forms, from lobbying Congress to the “in your face” tactics of Greenpeace. This kayaker was part of Greenpeace’s campaign against dangerously high industrial pollution in Mexico’s rivers.
Technology § Involves the human application of knowledge § § § to the making of tools and the use of natural resources. The term applies to the tools (material culture) and the beliefs, values, and attitudes towards them (non-material culture). As culture changes, new technologies arise to meet new needs; new technologies also contribute to cultural adaptation and advance. Social change both causes and results from new technology.
Technology Theoretical Perspectives on Technology and Social change Structural-Functional Theory: Technology and Evolutionary Social Change Social change is evolutionary and adaptive to new needs and demands in society. Conflict Theory: Technology, Power, and Social Change Vested interests in maintaining status quo conflict with interests in social change. Costs and benefits of technology are unevenly distributed: the wealthy secure more benefits and are vested in status quo. § §
Technology The Costs and Benefits of New Technologies New reproductive technologies In vitro fertilization allows a woman to conceive without having sex; sperm banks allow choice of donor; post-menopausal women can give birth; lesbian couples can give birth; and surrogacy has opened up many more options to gay couples, single men, and wives who cannot give birth. Increased options for bearing children affect family forms. Health, social, and ethical questions arise about new technologies and their long-term effects. § § §
Technology The Costs and Benefits of New Technologies Information Technology – Telecommunication tools and computers store, use, send information. § 1970 s – A college student goes to the library, searches hard copy sources, makes notes, writes several drafts of the paper, then types the paper using carbon paper to make a copy for herself and submits the hard copy. § 1990 s – A college student goes online using key word prompts to find articles, writes the paper using spellcheck and rearranging throughout the process, saves her work, emails a copy to her mother to proof, then prints a copy for the professor or submits using email or drop box.
Technology The Costs and Benefits of New Technologies ___Positive Effects ◦ global instantaneous info ◦ facilitates political participation ◦ work is portable ◦ greater communication opportunities for those in authoritarian states ◦ closer ties to family, friends when separated ◦ continuous connection Negative Effects__ ◦ new forms of crime ◦ new national security worries ◦ new health problems ◦ new forms of social control with personal data repositories ◦ elongated hours of work in a day ◦ new inefficiencies
Technology The Costs and Benefits of New Technologies § Technological Imperative – refers to the idea § that once a technology is available, it is difficult to avoid using it. Normal Accidents – accidents that can be expected to happen sooner or later, no matter how many safeguards are built into a system, simply because the system is so complex. A small failure has large effect—when things go wrong, they go wrong big time.
Where This Leaves Us… § Whether it originates in a social movement or a new technology, social change arises from and creates conflict and competition. § Most sociologists restrict their work to research and teaching; a vocal minority argue that sociologists should be pro-active in social change. § Sociology contributes to: 1) conflict resolution; 2) social justice perspectives; 3) modeling social change strategies. §Knowledge about the principles of human behavior will help us reduce social conflict.
1. A social movement is defined as: A. a crowd episode triggered by nonroutine events. B. a collection of people in the same place at the same time. C. a group of people who go through the life course at the same time. D. an organized attempt to change social institutions from the outside.
Answer: D A social movement is defined as an organized attempt to change social institutions from the outside.
2. Which is not true about incidents of collective behavior? A. They are emotionally aroused gatherings. B. They are a reaction to an unusual or problematic situation. C. They are unplanned. D. They involve routine behavior.
Answer: D Incidents of collective behavior do not involve routine behavior.
3. The main difference between a social movement and collective behavior is that: A. collective behavior is not violent. B. social movements always involve huge numbers of people and collective behavior does not. C. collective behavior is unplanned. D. collective behavior is planned and social movements are not.
Answer: C The main difference between a social movement and collective behavior is that collective behavior is unplanned.
4. The process of recruiting social movement members one at a time by convincing them their values are the same as the social movement organization’s is called: A. B. C. D. white-hot mobilization. bloc mobilization. resocialization. frame alignment.
Answer: D The process of recruiting social movement members one at a time by convincing them their values are the same as the social movement organization’s is called frame alignment.