Charles Stewart's Persuasion And Social Movements

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In order to differentiate from a social collective, a social movement must emulate six essential characteristics. In the book Persuasion and Social Movements, Charles Stewart and other authors list the essential characteristics and how a social movement differs from fads, campaigns, and other disorganized social gatherings.

An Organized Collectivity In order for a social collective to be considered a social movement, the movement must have a noticeably clear organizational structure. Existing within the movement must be a leader or leaders, as well as a large number of committed followers or members. Additionally, social movements have “organizations or coalitions” working as a guiding backbone for collectivity and regulation (Stewart, …show more content…

10). The large characteristics associated with a social movement distinguish the movement from a regional or local, short-term pressure group, campaign, or “protest act” (Stewart, Smith, & Denton 2012, p. 10). The Civil Rights Movement is easily distinguishable from a social collective, largely due to the immense geographical size and longevity of the movement. The Civil Rights Movement took place all across the American south and endured on for well over a decade starting in the mid 1950s and ending in the late 1960s. The movement, led by Martin Luther King Jr. grew steadily out of Montgomery, Alabama, taking over the Deep South, one city at a time with the aim of tackling a relentless history of oppression and segregation. The 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, where Martin Luther King gave his prophetic “I have a Dream Speech” attracted over 250,000 followers (Stewart, Smith, & Denton 2012, p. 12). The Civil Rights Movement had enormous momentum and was ready stay until justice was brought to every African-American in the United States of …show more content…

Additionally, a social movement’s ideology or their “belief-disbelief system” is “fluid” and open to change, unlike a small collective with a rigid set of principles. The main principle of acquiring justice is consistent, but beliefs are subject to change. The Civil Rights Movement is a textbook example of a “fluid” movement, consisting of swaying beliefs and strategies to combat racial injustice.
The original strategy of the movement was to simply shame America through boycotting and the exposure of injustice, but the movement soon realized this strategy was not enough. Fred Shuttlesworth, a prominent civil rights activist, said these remarks on shaming:
We thought that you could just shame America. Say, "Now, America, look at your promises. Look at how you treated your poor, negro citizens. You ought to be ashamed of yourself." But you know, segregate — You can't shame segregation. Rattlesnakes don't commit suicide. Ball teams don't strike themselves out. You got to put them out (PBS “Eyes on the

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