An ELEMENT OF DISSATISFACTION with the existing system can be found in every society. Dissatisfaction may be caused by POVERTY, SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION, EXPLOTATION OR LACK OF PRIVILEGE. People may develop a STRONG DESIRE TO CHANGE THE SITUATION by raising their voices against the existing order. They may start questioning established practices of society. This difference of opinion actually reflects a desire for change. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS EMERGE UNDER THIS SITUATION. However, a movement does not occur suddenly. It begins with DISSENT, moves towards PROTESTS AND AGITATION and finally takes the form of a SOCIAL MOVEMENT. This SEQUENCE-DISSENT, PROTEST AND AGITATION and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS – represents different phases of social change. But in some cases all these may be in operation at the same time.

  1. DISSENT: The term DISSENT refers to ideas and activities which are different from those prevailing in a society at a given point of time. DIFFERENCES OF OPINION AND DISAGREEMENT on certain issues are bases of dissent. Dissent is thus the beginning of a movement for change. FOR EXAMPLE, the struggle against the inhuman practice of untouchability in India was initiated only when the people who were suffering from this cruel practice raised their voices against it (Expressed their Dissent).
  2. PROTEST AND AGITATION is generally SPECIFIC IN NATURE. WHEN DISSENT IS EXPRESSED OPENLY IT ASSUMES THE FORM OF PROTEST AND AGITATION. When a dissenting opinion crystallizes further the situation of PROTEST AND AGITATION is created. Thus PROTEST AND AGITATION, in order to be meaningful, has to be supported by dissent in respect of the institutional arrangements prevailing in society at a given point of time. In fact, a CONSCIOUSNESS OF INJUSTICE AND DEPRIVATION TAKES PLACE AT THIS STAGE. Accordingly, we may say that THE SOCIAL SHARING OF DISCRIMINATION AND DEPRIVATION IS THE STARTING POINT OF PROTEST AND AGITATION. Thus, we may say that DISSENT expresses dissatisfaction with the existing situation and registers disagreement. PROTEST AND AGITATION, on the other hand, is a formal declaration of dissent and represents a more crystallized state of opposition and conflict.
  3. SOCIAL MOVEMENT: The term “social movements” was introduced in 1850 by the German Sociologist Lorenz von Steinin his book “History of the French Social Movement from 1789 to the Present”. A social movement is A SUSTAINED COLLECTIVE EFFORT THAT FOCUSES ON SOME ASPECT OF SOCIAL CHANGE. M.S.A RAO says that a social movement essentially involves SUSTAINED COLLECTIVE MOBILIZATION THROUGH EITHER INFORMAL OR FORMAL ORGANIZATION AND IS GENERALLY ORIENTED TOWARDS BRINGING ABOUT CHANGE IN THE EXISTING SYSTEM. Rao considers ideology as an important component of a social movement. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS are of great sociological interest because they are a major source of social change. All societies undergo changes. It may be radical i.e. some social institutions may be replaced by new ones. There may be major changes in the existing social institutions. Social movements are A TYPE OF GROUP ACTION TO BRING OR RESIST CHANGE. They are large informal groupings of individuals and/or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change.

KEY PROCESSES LIE BEHIND THE HISTORY OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

  1. Several key processes lie behind the history of social movements. URBANIZATION led to larger settlements, where people of similar goals could find each other, gather and organize. This facilitated social interaction between scores of people, and it was in urban areas that those early social movements first appeared.
  2. Similarly, the process of INDUSTRIALIZATION which gathered large masses of workers in the same region explains why many of those early social movements addressed matters such as economic wellbeing, important to the worker class.
  3. UNIVERSALIZATION of EDUCATION: Many other social movements were created at universities, where the process of mass education brought many people together.
  4. SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION: With the development of communication technologies, creation and activities of social movements became easier – from printed pamphlets circulating in the 18th century coffeehouses to newspapers and Internet, all those tools became important factors in the growth of the social movements.
  5. DEMOCRATIZATION: Finally, the spread of democracy and political rights like the freedom of speech made the creation and functioning of social movements much easier.

NATURE OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

  1. TURNER & KILHAN define a social movement as a “COLLECTIVITY which acts with some continuity to promote or resist change in the society or group of which it is a part”. Toch emphasizes that a SOCIAL MOVEMENT is AN EFFORT BY A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TO SOLVE COLLECTIVELY A PROBLEM THEY FEEL THEY SHARE IN COMMON.
  2. Although SOCIAL MOVEMENT involves COLLECTIVE ACTION by the people. However, ANY FORM OF COLLECTIVE ACTION CANNOT BE LABELED AS A SOCIAL MOVEMENT, even if it is directed towards changing the existing, social values. It should be SUSTAINED AND NOT SPORADIC.
  3. A SOCIAL MOVEMENT DIFFERS FROM a CROWD by being a long term collectivity, not a quick spontaneous grouping.
  4. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS are also different from other movements like COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT or THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT. THESE MOVEMENTS ARE INSTITUTIONALIZED MOVEMENTS i.e. they function under a given set of rules. The membership of these organizations is not open to all. Members function with a fixed structure and a hierarchy. This type of a hierarchy is necessary for any institutionalized movement. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS on the other hand, will not have any of the above features. The two features of social movements, namely, SUSTAINED ACTION AND SPONTANEITY OPERATE SIMULTANEOUSLY. These together distinguish a social movement from other movements.
  5. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN THE BEGINNING do not follow a fixed pattern of hierarchy. They are thus able to innovate new features of organisation. Institutionalization would prevent any form of innovation because of its fixed structures.
  6. A SOCIAL MOVEMENT constitutes a collective attempt not only to promote change but also to resist change e.g. Sati movement.

TYPES OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

  1. REFORM MOVEMENTS: Collective attempt to change some parts of a society without completely transforming it. It accepts the basic pattern of the social order of that society and orients itself around an ideal. It makes use of those institutions such as the press, the government, the school, the church and so on to support its programme. These usually rise on behalf of some distressed or exploited group. Reform movements are almost impossible in an authoritarian society. Such movements are mainly possible in democratic societies where people tolerate criticism.
  2. REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENTS: Such a movement seeks to overthrow the existing system and replace it with a totally different one. Revolutionary movements aim at reconstructing the entire social order. They Challenge the existing norms and propose a new scheme of values.
  3. RESISTANCE OF REACTIONARY MOVEMENTS: These arise among people who are dissatisfied with certain aspects of change. The movement seeks to recapture or reinstate old values.
  4. MIGRATORY MOVEMENTS: When a large number of people migrate due to discontent and or due to shared hope for a better future in some other land.
  5. REVITALIZATION MOVEMENT:

FUNCTIONS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

According to TOURAINE social movements have three important functions:

  1. MEDIATION: Help to relate the individual to the larger society. Give each person a chance to participate, to express his ideas and to play a role in the process of social change.
  2. PRESSURE: Social movements stimulate the formation of organized group that work systematically to see that their plans and policies are implemented.
  3. CLARIFICATION OF COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS: Social movements generate and develop ideas which spread throughout society. As a result group consciousness arises and grows.

THEORETICAL STRANDS FOR ORIGINS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

  1. DEPRIVATION THEORY: Deprivation theory argues that SOCIAL MOVEMENTS have their foundations among people who feel deprived of some good(s) or resource(s). According to this approach, individuals who are lacking some good, service, or comfort are more likely to organize a social movement to improve (or defend) their conditions. There are two significant problems with this theory. FIRST, since most people feel deprived at one level or another almost all the time, the theory has a hard time explaining why the groups that form social movements do when other people are also deprived. SECOND, the reasoning behind this theory is circular – often the only evidence for deprivation is the social movement. If deprivation is claimed to be the cause but the only evidence for such is the movement, the reasoning is circular.
  2. MARXIST THEORY: (FOR DETAIL REFER THINKERS) Derived from Karl Marx, Marxism as an ideology and theory of social change has had an immense impact on the practice and the analysis of social movements. Marxism arose from an analysis of movements structured by conflicts between industrial workers and their capitalist employers in the 19th century. In the twentieth century a variety of neo Marxist theories have been developed that have opened themselves to adding questions of race, gender, environment, and other issues to an analysis centered in (shifting) political economic conditions. Class based movements, both revolutionary and labor-reformist, have always been stronger in Europe than in the US and so has Marxist theory as a tool for understanding social movements, but important Marxist movements and theories have also evolved in the US. Marxist approaches have been and remain influential ways of understanding the role of political economy and class differences as key forces in many historical and current social movements, and they continue to challenge approaches that are limited by their inability to imagine serious alternatives to consumer capitalist social structures.
  3. MASS SOCIETY THEORY: Mass society theory argues that SOCIAL MOVEMENTS are made up of individuals in large societies who feel their identity insignificant or socially detached. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, according to this theory, PROVIDE A SENSE OF EMPOWERMENT AND BELONGING THAT THE MEMBERS WOULD OTHERWISE NOT HAVE FELT. However, Very little support has been found for this theory. AHO (1990), in his study of Idaho Christian Patriotism, did not find that members of that movement were more likely to have been socially detached. In fact, the key to joining the movement was having a friend or associate who was a member of the movement.
  4. SOCIAL STRAIN THEORY: Social strain theory, also known as “value-added theory”, proposes six factors that encourage social movement:
    • structural conduciveness – people come to believe their society has problems
    • structural strain – people experience deprivation
    • growth and spread of a solution – a solution to the problems people are experiencing is proposed and spreads
    • precipitating factors – discontent usually requires a catalyst (often a specific event) to turn it into a social movement
    • lack of social control – the entity that is to be changed must be at least somewhat open to the change; if the social movement is quickly and powerfully repressed, it may never materialize
    • mobilization – this is the actual organizing and active component of the movement; people do what needs to be done
      • This theory is also subject to circular reasoning as it incorporates, at least in part, deprivation theory and relies upon it, and social/structural strain for the underlying motivation of social movement activism. However, social movement activism is, like in the case of deprivation theory, often the only indication that there was strain or deprivation.
  5. RESOURCE MOBILIZATION THEORY: Resource mobilization theory emphasizes the importance of resources in SOCIAL MOVEMENT and it’s success. Resources are understood here to include: KNOWLEDGE, MONEY, MEDIA, LABOR, SOLIDARITY, LEGITIMACY, AND INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL SUPPORT FROM POWER ELITE. The theory argues that SOCIAL MOVEMENTS develop when individuals with grievances are able to mobilize sufficient resources to take action. The emphasis on resources offers an explanation why some discontented/deprived individuals are able to organize while others are not. Some of the assumptions of the theory include:
  • there will always be grounds for protest in modern, politically pluralistic societies because there is constant discontent among members of society (i.e., grievances or deprivation);
  • Members weigh the costs and benefits from movement’s participation; members are recruited through networks; commitment is maintained by building a collective identity and continuing to nurture interpersonal relationships
  • movement organization is contingent upon the aggregation of resources
  • social movement organizations require resources and continuity of leadership
  • social movement entrepreneurs and protest organisers are the catalysts which transform
    collective discontent into social movements;
  • the form of the resources shapes the activities of the movement (e.g., access to a TV
    station will result in the extensive use TV media)
  • movements develop in contingent opportunity structures that influence their efforts to
    mobilize; as each movement’s response to the opportunity structures depends on the
    movement’s organization and resources, there is no clear pattern of movement
    development nor are specific movement techniques or methods universal
    • CRITICS of this theory argue that there is too much of an emphasize on resources, especially financial resources. Some movements are effective without an influx of money and are more dependent upon the movement members for time and labor (e.g., the civil rights movement in the U.S.).

M.S.A. RAO had done a great deal of research on SOCIAL MOVEMENTS and he IDENTIFIED THREE FACTORS relating to the origins of SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

  1. RELATIVE DEPRIVATION: People feel that they are deprived of something. THE NAXALITE MOVEMENT would have this as a cause. Deprivation is relative and not absolute. Social movements can arise out of relative expectations and not necessarily out of extreme or absolute conditions.
  2. STRUCTURAL STRAIN: When the prevailing value system and the normative structure do not meet the aspirations of the people, the society faces strain. A NEW VALUE SYSTEM IS SOUGHT SO AS TO REPLACE THE OLD LEADS TO CONFLICTS AND TENSION CAUSING SOCIAL MOVEMENT. Usually individuals in such a situation violate the social norms.
  3. REVITALIZATION: Offer a positive alternative. MOVEMENTS ARE STARTED FOR REVITALIZING THE EXISTING SYSTEM WHICH IS UNDERGOING STRUCTURAL STRAIN. Urge for revitalization can generate a movement which promotes patriotism and national pride could be caused by youth movements which encourage young people to help and organize the oppressed or the literacy movements are other examples. Movements are started in order to solve a problem collectively. Not merely protest against what they define as wrong but also try to provide an alternative.

CONDITIONS FOR ORIGIN OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

  1. Social movement represents an effort by a large number of people to solve collectively a problem or problems.
  2. The people must understand the problem.
  3. The problem must be observable.
  4. Problem must be objective i.e. it exists even if people are not aware of it.
  5. Consciousness of the problem: When people become aware of the problem it means that their consciousness of the problem is real. They are now subjectively aware of the objective situation.
    • Problems are not created by people out of nothing. Problems exist in reality but it is only when people actually understand a problem that they try to find out means to overcome it. Social movements are not eternal. They have a life cycle: they are created, they grow, they achieve successes or failures and eventually, they dissolve and cease to exist.
  6. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS are more likely to evolve in the TIME AND PLACE WHICH IS FRIENDLY TO THE SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: hence their evident symbiosis with the 19th century proliferation of ideas like individual rights, freedom of speech and civil disobedience.
  7. SOCIAL MOVEMENTS occur in both liberal and authoritarian societies but in different forms. However there must always be POLARIZING DIFFERENCES between groups of people, FOR EXAMPLE in case of ‘old movements’, they were the poverty and wealth gaps. In case of the ‘new movements’, they are more likely to be the differences in customs, ethics and values.
  8. Finally, the birth of a social movement needs what sociologist Neil Smelser calls an INITIATING EVENT: a particular, individual event that will begin a chain reaction of events in the given society leading to the creation of a social movement. FOR EXAMPLE, American Civil Rights movement grew on the reaction to black woman, Rosa Parks, riding in the whitesonly section of the bus (although she was not acting alone or spontaneously—typically activist Leaders lay the groundwork behind the scenes of interventions designed to spark a movement). The Polish Solidarity movement, which eventually toppled the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, developed after trade union activist Anna Walentynowicz was fired from work. The South African shack dwellers’ movement grew out of a road blockade in response to the sudden selling off of a small piece of land promised for housing to a developer. Such an event is also described as a “volcanic model” – a social movement is often created after a large number of people realize that there are others sharing the same value and desire for a particular social change.

SOURCES OF PROBLEMS IN SOCIAL MOVEMENT:

  1. One of the main difficulties facing the emerging social movement is ‘spreading the very knowledge that it exists’. Second is overcoming the ‘free rider problem’ – convincing people to join it, instead of following the mentality ‘why should I trouble myself when others can do it and I can just reap the benefits after their hard work’.
  2. Many social movements are created around some charismatic leader, i.e. one possessing charismatic authority. After the social movement is created, there are two likely phases of recruitment. The first phase will gather the people deeply interested in the ‘primary goal’ and ideal of the movement. The second phase, which will usually come after the given movement had some successes and is trendy; it would look good on a résumé. People who join in this second phase will likely be the first to leave when the movement suffers any setbacks and failures.
  3. Eventually, the social crisis can be encouraged by outside elements, like opposition from government or other movements. However, many movements had survived a failure crisis, being revived by some hardcore activists even after several decades.

ROLE OF LEADERSHIP AND IDEOLOGY IN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

Social movements constitute people’s efforts to organize themselves to light against inequalities, discrimination and deprivation. Widespread collective mobilization has led to organized movements with defined ideologies and leaders who have brought important changes in the societies from which they originate.

  • Leaders are important for movements because THEY HELP CLARIFY THE ISSUES and THUS SHAPE THE MOVEMENT.
  • PROVIDE GUIDANCE to a movement.
  • PREVENT IT FROM BECOMING A DESPERATE, UNRULY collection of people.
  • Leadership is expected to REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PEOPLE.
  • Leaders ARTICULATE THE VIEWS of the participants.
  • They PRESENT PEOPLES VIEW IN AN ORGANIZED MANNER.
  • How the participant attempt to achieve the stated objectives will be largely determined by the leadership the movement can throw up.

Ideology:

  1. People follow the leader because of what he represents i.e. the ideas that he places before the people.
  2. Ideology plays a role in SUSTAINING THE MOVEMENT.
  3. It helps in UNDERSTANDING A SITUATION.
  4. It LEGITIMIZES ACTIONS perused by the people.
  5. Ideology makes people UNDERSTAND AND JUSTIFY THE IMPLICATIONS OF THEIR ACTIONS.
  6. Ideology indicates THE GOALS, MEANS AND FORMS OF PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES of social groups and of individuals.
  7. It supplies the JUSTIFICATION FOR VARIOUS SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND MORAL IDEALS.
  8. Ideology DISTINGUISHES A SOCIAL MOVEMENT FROM MERE INSTANCES.
  9. Leaders operate within ideological framework.

LIFE CYCLE OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS:

  1. STAGE ONE reflects the SOCIAL UNREST present in society. COLLECTIVE TENSION builds up as a result of this.
  2. STAGE TWO in which COLLECTIVE EXCITEMENT can be witnessed in the society, where people feel they have a problem in common. CERTAIN SOCIAL CONDITIONS ARE IDENTIFIED as the root cause of the misery and excitement sets in. The movement gains support and a guiding ideology. AGITATION rise everywhere. This period is generally brief and leads quickly to action.
  3. STAGE THREE is the FORMALIZATION STAGE though some movements like migratory movements may be able to operate without formal organisation. DIVISION OF WORK among leaders and followers. FUND RAISING is systematized and IDEOLOGY BECOMES CLEARER than before. The STRATEGY AND TACTICS FOR PROTEST AND FOR ACTION are drawn and A MORAL JUSTIFICATION for having adopted a particular course of action is established.
  4. THE FOURTH STAGE is one of INSTITUTIONALIZATION. The movement CRYSTALLIZES INTO A DEFINITE PATTERN. Efficient bureaucrats replace agitators; buildings, offices are established. The AIMS OF THE MOVEMENT become accepted in that society. This period may last indefinitely.
  5. THE FIFTH STAGE is one of DISSOLUTION. Only some movements achieve full institutionalization. Some movements’ ends early while some dissolve after the objective has been achieved.

All social movements: Play a major part in social change. Help in quickening the pace of change. Influence many aspects of the people’s lives: moral, political, social and cultural.


REVOLUTION:

A revolution is a mass social movement. A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in political power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time when the population rises up in revolt against the current authorities. A revolution leads to major process of reform or change (Skocpol 1979).

  1. JOHN DUNN has pointed out that this means that those who take power must genuinely be more capable of governing the society over which they assume control than those who have been over-thrown; the leadership must be capable of achieving at least some its targets. A society in which a movement succeeds in gaining the formal trappings of power but is then unable to rule effectively cannot be said to have experienced a revolution; it is likely rather to be a society in chaos or threatened with disintegration.
  2. Revolution involves the threat or use of violence on the part of those participating. Revolutions are political changes brought about in the face of opposition from the pre existing authorities who cannot be persuaded to relinquish their power without the threatened or actual use of violence means.
  3. Combining these three criteria, we can define A REVOLUTION AS THE SEIZURE, OFTEN INVOLVING THE USE OF VIOLENCE, OF POLITICAL POWER BY THE LEADERS OF A MASS MOVEMENT, WHERE THAT POWER IS SUBSEQUENTLY USED TO INITIATE MAJOR PROCESSES OF SOCIAL REFORM. In these terms, the events of 1989 in Eastern Europe were definitely revolutions. Mass social movements were involved. Violence was threatened and sometimes (in Romania, for example) used against the government authorities. And the events certainly led to major processes of social reform.
  4. The revolutions, however, are only the most recent in a history of revolutionary change in modern societies that goes as far back as the eighteenth century. The American and French revolutions, of 1776 and 1789 respectively, were the most important examples during the eighteenth. The ideals of freedom, citizenship and equality in the name of which those revolutions were fought, have become fundamental political values. Indeed, these were the value that guided the movements of 1989 in Eastern Europe. Eighteenth-century revolutions in fact played a major role in establishing the political system of most
  5. Western societies, not just the United States and France. But most of the revolutions occurring across the world in the twentieth century, up to the events of 1989, took place in developing societies such as Russia, China, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt Vietnam, Cuba and other Third World countries.

THEORIES OF REVOLUTION:

Since revolution have been so important in world history over the past two centuries, it is not surprising that a diversity of theories exist to try to account for them. Some theories were formulated early in the history of the social sciences; the most important was that of Karl Marx. Marx, who lived well before any of the revolutions undertaken in the name of his ideas. He intended his views to be taken not just as an analysis of the conditions of revolutionary change, but as a means of furthering such change. Whatever is their intrinsic validity, Marx’s ideas have had an immense practical impact on twentieth-century social change.

KARL MARX’S THEORY:

  1. Marx’s view of revolution is based on his interpretation of human history in general. According to Marx, THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETIES IS MARKED BY PERIODIC CLASS CONFLICTS THAT, WHEN THEY BECOME ACUTE, TEND TO END IN A PROCESS OF REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE. Class struggles derive from the contradictions – unresolvable tensions – in societies.
  2. The main source of contradiction can be traced to economic changes, or changes in the forces of production. In beginning was stability in society, there was a balance between the economic structure, social relationship and the political system (PRIMITIVE CAPITALIST STAGE). As the forces of production altered, contradiction appeared in society because of inequality between HAVE and HAVENOT in respect to their relation with “Means of Production”. In Capitalist stage contradictions further intensified, leading to open clashes between classes – and ultimately to revolution.
  3. MARX APPLIED THIS MODEL BOTH TO THE PAST DEVELOPMENT OF FEUDALISM AND TO WHAT HE SAW AS THE PROBABLE FUTURE EVOLUTION OF INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM. The traditional, feudal societies of Europe were based on peasant production; the producers were SERFS ruled by a class of LANDED ARISTOCRATS AND GENTRY. Economic changes within these societies gave rise to towns and cities, where trade and manufacture developed. This new economic system, created within feudal society, threatened its very basis. Rather than being founded on the traditional lord-serf relationship, the emerging economic order encouraged industrialists to produce goods for sale in open markets. The contradictions between the old feudal economy and the newly emerging capitalist one eventually became acute, taking the form of VIOLENT CONFLICT between THE RISING CAPITALIST CLASS and THE FEUDAL LANDOWNERS. REVOLUTION WAS THE OUTCOME OF THIS PROCESS, THE MOST IMPORTANT EXAMPLE BEING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 1789. Through such revolution and revolutionary change occurring in other European societies, Marx argued, the capitalist class managed to achieve dominance.
  4. But the coming of industrial capitalism, according to Marx, set up new contradictions, which would eventually lead to a further series of revolutions prompted by ideals of communism. MARX MEANT BY COMMUNISM THE OWNERSHIP OF INDUSTRY BY SOCIETY AS A WHOLE, RATHER THAN BY INDIVIDUALS. Industrial capitalism is an economic order based on the private pursuit of profit and on competition between firms to sell their products creates a gulf between a rich minority who control the industrial resources and an impoverished majority of wage workers. WORKERS AND CAPITALIST come into more and more intense conflict with one another. Labour movements and political parties representing the mass of the working population eventually mount a challenge to the rule of the capitalist class and overthrow the existing political system. When the position of a dominant class is particularly entrenched, Marx believed, violent Revolution is necessary to bring about the required-transition.

JAMES DAVIES THEORY:

  1. Criticizing Marx, sociologist James Davies pointed out that there are many periods of history when people have lived in dire poverty but have not risen up in protest. Constant poverty or deprivation does not make people into revolutionaries; rather, they usually endure such conditions with resignation or mute despair. According to Davies, social protest, and ultimately revolution, is more likely to occur when there is an improvement in people’s living conditions. Once standards of living have started to rise, people’s levels of expectations also go up. If improvement in actual conditions subsequently slows down, propensities to revolt are created because rising expectations are frustrated.
  2. Thus, it is not absolute deprivation that leads to protest but relative deprivation – the discrepancy between the lives people are forced to lead and what they think could realistically be achieved. Davis’s theory is useful in understanding the connections between revolution and modern social and economic development. The influence of ideals of progress, together with expectations of economic growth, tend to induce rising expectations, which, it then frustrated spark protest Such protest gains further strength from the spread of ideas of equality and democratic political participation.
  3. As Charles Tilly has pointed out, however, Davies’s theory does not show how and why different groups mobilize to seek revolutionary change. Protest might well often occur against a backdrop of rising expectations; to understand how it is transformed into revolutionary action; we need to identify how groups become collectively organized to make effective political challenges.

CHARLES TILLY’S THEORY:

In From Mobilization to Revolution, Charles Tilly analysed process of revolutionary change in the context of broader forms of protest and violence. He distinguished FOUR MAIN COMPONENTS of COLLECTIVE ACTION, action taken to contest or overthrows an existing social order LEADING TO REVOLUTION.

  1. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE GROUP OR GROUPS INVOLVED. Protest movements are organized in many ways, varying from the spontaneous formation of crowds to tightly disciplined revolutionary groups. FOR EXAMPLE, The movement Lenin led in Russia began as a small group of activists.
  2. MOBILIZATION, the ways in which a group acquires SUFFICIENT RESOURCES to make collective action possible. Such resources may include supplies of material goods, political support and weaponry. FOR EXAMPLE, Lenin was able to acquire material and moral support from a sympathetic peasantry, together with many townspeople.
  3. THE COMMON INTERESTS of these engaging in collective action, what they see as the gains and losses likely to be achieved by their policies. Some common goals always underlie mobilization to collective action. FOR EXAMPLE, Lenin managed to weld together a broad coalition of support because many people had a common interest in removing the existing government.
  4. OPPORTUNITY, CHANCE; events may occur that provide opportunities to pursue revolutionary aims. Numerous forms of collective action, including revolution, are greatly influenced by such incidental events. There was not inevitability to Lenin’s success, which depended on a number of contingent factors – including success in battle. If Lenin had been killed, would there have been a revolution?

Collective action itself can simply be defined as people acting together in pursuit of interests they share – for example, gathering to demonstrate in support of their cause. Some of these people may be intensely involved; others may lend more passive or irregular support. Effective collective action, such as action that culminates in revolution, usually moves through stages 1 to 4.

Social movements, in Tilly’s view, tend to develop as means of mobilizing group resources either when people have no institutionalized means of making their voices heard or when their needs are directly repressed by the state authorities. Although collective action at some point. involves open confrontation with the political authorities – ‘taking to the streets’ – only when such activity is backed by groups who are systematically organized is confrontation likely to have much impact on established patterns of power.

Typical models of collective action and protest vary with historical and cultural circumstances. In today’s society, for example, most people are familiar with forms of demonstration such as mass marches, large assemblies and street riots, whether or not they have participated in such activities. Other types of collective protest, however, have become less common or have disappeared altogether in most modern societies (such as fights between villages, machine breaking or lynching). Protesters can also build on examples taken from other countries; for instance, guerrilla movements proliferated in various parts of the world once disaffected groups learned how successful guerrilla actions can be against regular armies.

When and why does collective action become violent? After studying a large number of incidents that have occurred in Western Europe since 1800, Tilly concludes that most collective violence occurs depends not so much on the nature of the activity as on other factors – in particular, how the authorities respond. A good instance is the street demonstration. The vast majority of such demonstrations take place without damage either to people or to property. A minority lead to violence, and are then labeled as riots. Sometimes the authorities step in when violence has already occurred; more often, the historical record shows, they are the originators of violence. In Tilly’s words, ‘In the modern European experience repressive forces are themselves the most consistent initiator and performers of collective violence’ (1978). Moreover, when violent confrontations do occur, the agents of authority are responsible for the largest share of deaths and injuries; This is not surprising given their special access to arms and military discipline. The groups they are attempting to control, conversely, do greater damage to object or property.

Revolutionary movements, according to Tilly, are type of collective action that occurs in situations what he calls multiple sovereignty – these occur when a government for some reason lacks full control over the areas it is supposed administer. Multiple sovereignty can arise as a result of external war, internal political clashes, or these two combined. Whether a revolutionary takeover of power is accomplished depends on how far the ruling authorities maintain control over the armed forces, the extent of conflicts within ruling groups and the level of organization of the protest movements trying to seize power.

Tilly’s work represents one of the most sophisticated attempts to analyse collective violence and revolutionary struggle. The concepts he develops seem to have wide application, and his use of them is sensitive to the variabilities of historical time and place. How social movements are organized, the resources they are able to mobilize, the common interests of groups contending for power, and change opportunities are all important aspects of revolutionary transformation.

Tilly says little, however, about the circumstances that lead to multiple sovereignty. This is such a fundamental part of explaining revolution that it represents a serious omission. According to Theda Skocpol, Tilly assumes that revolutionary movements are guided by the conscious and deliberate pursuit of interests, and successful processes of revolutionary change occur when people manage to realize these interest. Skocpol, by contrast, sees revolutionary movements as more ambiguous and indecisive in their objectives. Revolutions, she emphasizes, largely emerge as unintended consequences of more partial aims: In fact, in historical revolutions, differently situated and motivated groups have become participants in complex unfolding of multiple conflicts. These conflicts have been powerfully shaped and limited by existing social, economic and international conditions. And they have proceeded in different ways depending upon how each revolutionary situation emerged in the first place.


Political Socialization
  1. Political socialization can be defined as a process of socializing in a political system through information on political symbols, institutions and procedures and internalizing the value system and ideology supporting the system. It is also a process of acquisition of political culture. This process works at individual as well as at community level through cultural transmission. It is one of the most important functions of the political system. It is also part of the general socialization which starts at the later life.
  2. The two important components are 1.Inculcation of general values and norms regarding political behavior and political matters and 2. The induction of an individual or some people into a particular party and learning its ideology and action programmes.The role played by massmedia is equally important in educating the masses and clearing their views for making informed decisions regarding political affairs. It plays a very crucial role during elections.
Political Modernization:
  1. It is the transformation of political culture in response to changes in social and physical environment. According to Huntington political modernization is a multifaceted process involving change in all areas of human thought and activity. Benjamin Schwartz views political modernization as the systematic, sustained and powerful application of human energies to control man’s social and physical environment. Claude Welch describes political modernization as the process based on the rational utilization of resources and aimed at the establishment of modern society.
  2. The process of modernization of the polity leads to the emergence of some crucial problems and challenges faced by the political system. It is rooted in the changing sources of legitimation of authority.

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