Social Movements Emerge and Political Systems

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RQ: Why do social movements emerge and what is their impact on political systems? The aim of this review essay is to compare and contrast the main schools of thought specialised in social movements, the comparative case studies chosen and the relevant literature. The time frame in which my final essay will be embedded goes from 1960 onwards, with social movements becoming a permanent component of western democracies. With regard to the theoretical frame, my starting point is the differentiation of two main approaches, the American and the European, regarding literature from authors like Della Porta and Mario Diani. Then I will focus on the four currently dominant perspectives and in the way they approach the reason for social movements to emerge, also in what their impact is on political systems. Finally, in an attempt to present empirical data to support the theory, I will use two case studies regarding current social movements and their impact on political systems. Like with other sociological phenomenon there is not a neat answer to what a social movement is, but scholars like Blumer have managed to create definitions that enable future scientific research. As an example as I consider it to have many similarities with what, before reading more deeply about the topic, would be my description of a social movement: Social movements can be viewed as collective enterprises seeking to establish a new order of life. They have their inception in a condition of unrest, and derive their motive power on one hand from dissatisfaction with the current form of life, and on the other hand, from wishes and hopes for a new system of living. The career of a social movement depicts the emergence of a new order of life. But even with this def... ... middle of paper ... ...ial Movements Reader: Cases and Concepts. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2003. 1-3. Print. Lyman, Stanford M. "Collective Protest: A Critique of Resource-Mobilization Theory." Social Movements: Critiques, Concepts, Case-studies. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995. 137-68. Print. Mejias, Jorge. "Social Networks and the Spanish 15-M Movement." Mapping Ignorance. N.p., 18 June 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. Porta, Donatella Della, and Mario Diani. "The Study of Social Movements." Social Movements: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006. 1-21. Print. Raman, Omar H. "KONY2012: The Rise and Fall of an Online Social Movement." OMAR H. RAHMAN Multi-platform Journalist. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. Tarrow, Sidney G. "From Contention to Social Movements." Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. Second ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 71-123. Print.
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