Essay On Social Movements

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Social movements have played a defining role for society’s actors since the mid-18th century when followers of the English politician, John Wilkes, ran for the lower house of parliament on a platform to promote civil rights for all citizens of England . This social movement was not phenomena, but a direct response to changes occurring at the time namely: urbanization, use of print media, and the growing idea of popular sovereignty . In addition, the Enlightened writings of European, mostly French, philosophes were impacting much of the Western world which was just on the cusp of several revolutions for independence from the dominating and repressive political culture . According to Francis Fukuyama, “civil society serves to balance the power of the state and to protect individuals from the state’s power” . Civil society promotes democracy. Global civil society is also democratic in nature and creates a platform for dialogue . However, even in democracies, there are injustices and inequalities. Enter the role of social movements in global civil society. Social movements “organize and mobilize those who have failed to find redress for their grievances through the existing political system” . They seek to bring to the forefront issues that often challenge the dominant social, political, or economic structure. Social movements occur when an opening in the political opportunity structure becomes apparent. This means that social movements weigh their ability to be successful on the government’s capacity for repression. For example, a movement is not likely to occur in a state in which there is no democracy and a high probability of repression by the state, like North Korea. However, because the very nature of social movements is root... ... middle of paper ... ...ften times, musical movements are specific to the culture in which they emerged and therefore do not translate well to other cultures. For example, Yen a Marre is a rap protest movement in Senegal fighting for fair elections, and will likely stay in Senegal due to the specificity of its message and mission. Music does have the power to recruit individuals longing for a space to say that otherwise might not be able to be voiced and can be used as a tool for education to present new information to audiences . However, the music’s ability to be participatory in nature, promote a universal theme with the ability to diffuse borders and bridge networks regardless of ethnicity, and how well it frames its collective identity are ultimately what set the movement up to be a successful musical transnational social movement, and affect global civil society in a positive way.

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