The Literature On Social Studies

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The literature on social studies enjoys a wide range of social movement’s definitions (Christiansen 2009). This diversity of such a definition is due to the fact that theorists tend to define the term of a social movement depending on their particular theoretical formulation (Diani 1992). Therefore, this section will first consider definitions proposed by group of scholars that represent four major trends in social movements analysis. These trends are as follow, the ‘Collective Behavior Perspective’ (Turner and Killian), the ‘Resource Mobilization Theory’ (RMT) (ZaId and McCarthy); the ‘Political Process Perspective (Tilly); and the ‘New Social Movements Approach’ (NSMs) (Touraine, Melucci). Then, a definition by Della Porta and Diani is selected as this definition has been centered on the most important characteristics of the social movements and oft-cited by researchers. (Turner and Killian 1987) cited in (Diani 1992, p. 4) define social movements as a “collectivity acting with some continuity to promote or resist a change in the society or organisation of which it is part. As a collectivity a movement is a group with indefinite and shifting membership and with leadership whose position is determined more by informal response of adherents than by formal procedures for legitimizing authority”. Turner and Killian regard a social movement as a peculiar kind of collective behavior that is contrasted to regularity and institutional behavior. Additionally, Turner believes that social movements do not necessarily coincide with movement organisations, although these organisations can carry out a large part of the movement tasks and it is often help to control and speak for movements (Diani 1992). (McCarthy and Zald 1977, p. 1217) def... ... middle of paper ... ...rrain: the need for self-realization in everyday life” (Melucci 1989, p. 23). What makes the contemporary movements distinctive from tradtional movements is that it is active on variuos levels within and outside of the political sephere. Moreover, (Melucci 1989, p. 75) argues that contomberary movements establish their collective idientity outside the political domain and “translate their action into symbolic challenges that overturn the dominant cultural codes”. The differences that characterized the contemporary social movements - the building of unity in the face of heterogeneity and differentiation, the creation of the symbolic challenges, and their political characters – make it difficult to be approached by the aforementioned theories which are politically reductionist and only analyse the outcomes of the actions ore movements (Barholomew & Mayer 1992).
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