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The Causes and Types of Social Movements

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Causes and Types of Social Movements

Ronald Mitchell

July 2, 2017

Intro to Writing
The Causes and Types of Social Movements

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The Causes and Types of Social Movements

When I think of Social movements, I think of protests and marches. What intrigued me

about this topic was the word types. I realized that there are different types of Social

Movements. In this essay I will discuss the types of Social Movements, and what causes these

movements to happen.

Social Movements is based off a macro view, and usually happen when people want

some type of change. There are four types of social movements; alternative, redemptive,

reformative, and revolutionary. Along with the types of movement comes with a variety of

theories. I will only discuss Culture Theory, Political Process Theory, Structural-Strain Theory,

and Resource-Mobilization Theory.

The culture theory is based on movements formed around beliefs and traditions. These

beliefs consist of myths, religions, traditions, rites, and symbols. Another type of culture is class

cultures. In the US, we have upper, middle, and lower class. Cultural Movements happens all

around the world. As I was researching, I took noticed to the recent cultural movements going on

across the globe.

Gendercide is a major cultural movement that is going on in China and the US.

Gendercide is systematic killings of a specific sex and is usually done with newborns. China is

dealing with over population and theyve decided to fix the problem by conducting gendercide.

A family in China must consist of one boy and one girl. There are cases where the family had
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more than one boy, but China will perform gendercide on a newborn girl. In the US it is a

mixture of political movement and cultural movement.

The cause of the gendercide movement in the US is due to the expenses of healthcare for

women and the right of the family to choose if they want a boy or a girl. Womens health care

expenses is higher than men, because of pregnancy, the amount of exams and physicals, and

womens physical make-up will require extra medical attention. Another cause of this movement

is the familys right to choose what gender they want. If a mother wants to have a boy, but she

keeps having a girl, she has the right (in certain facilities) to abort the unborn child or perform

gendercide amongst that newborn child upon delivery.

The cultural aspect of this movement is the tainting the American culture. No one thinks

of American families picking and choosing the type of family they want to have. To most people

in the American culture, the American dream is to have at least one boy and one girl. There is a

political side of this topic, but it will be discussed when we discuss the Political Process Theory.

Another cultural movement that is popular in the US history is the Civil Rights

Movement. This was a movement pushing for equal opportunity to all citizens regardless of race,

religion, sex, and national origin. This movement is also a mixture between a political and

cultural movement. Looking at it from a cultural aspect, the cause of this movement was due to

the mistreatment of African Americans and women of all races.

There were many issues that arose before the movement such as, but not limited to

neglecting blacks the right to vote, neglecting women the right to vote, firing or not hiring blacks
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because of their race, discrimination toward Muslims. Majority of theses issues are closely

related to political, but from a cultural aspect the American people were still stuck in old

traditions. Due to slavery, blacks were looked down as being lower than the whites. Even

though, around this time blacks were free to live as an American, the tradition of the slave master

to slave mentality still existed.

People often view the Civil Rights Movement in a negative light, but it was actually a

break through in the American culture. Political Process Theory is the focus of movement

attributes in the political and economic context. This theory came about when observing the civil

rights movement and the outcome of the movement. There was an outpour of political change in

the US after the civil rights movement.

In December 1773, an iconic event in American history took place. The Boston Tea party

was one of the most well known political movements. The Boston Tea party took place, because

the British government was charging high tax on the tea imported into Massachusetts. The

Boston tea party is a perfect example of a political movement coming from an economic context.

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation passed, there was still plenty of

discrimination going on in the southern states. As I mentioned earlier, the civil rights movement

was not only a cultural movement, but a political one as well. Since there was segregation going

on towards blacks, hatred towards blacks went along with it. Hatred was due to the blacks for

being free from slavery. Blacks felt since they are free and living in this country, then they

should have the same rights as the whites.

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People in this political movement wanted to handle things in court and in a sound voice,

instead of acting out in violence. During this time, there were people like Dr. Martin Luther King

who rather motivate people instead of encouraging the victims to respond with violence. The

court ordered for no segregation any where in the south, which was a change that brought a

major shock around the world.

With this movement, blacks and American women used nonviolent protest and civil

disobedience to bring change with the US federal government. The million-man march is also an

iconic nonviolent political movement in the US. Louis Farrakhan hosted the first one in

Washington, DC in 1995. This was an opportunity for men to come out and make a major

change in the presidential election. Farrakhan encouraged blacks to utilize their right to vote and

to remember what was going on during the years of President George Bush was in office. He

also promoted that it is the mans job to take care of the home not the government. Since the

movement, it still encourages black men to vote today, because it gives them the sense of choice

in the US.

Gendercide is also a political movement in the US, because it touches on the topic

of Womens Rights. Abortion is still a touchy subject amongst the women, rape, and religion

community. Women took action by bringing the gendercide issue to the House of

Representatives. Their case was saying that it was wrong for a woman to abort a child based on

the sex of the fetus. Feminist groups believed this was an early form of being sexist, and this was

being promoted to many families. These feminist groups went on to say that it is wrong for the

government to allow this to go on in America.

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On May 31, 2012 the House of Representatives did not pass the ban on abortions based

on the gender of the fetus (Gendercide' abortion ban fails in House, pub. May 31,2012). Should

people have the right to flush little girls down the toilets if its not their preference? Its not a

very moral thing to do, because there are always other alternatives. A relativist would justify the

gendercide usage in the U.S, because it would help decrease the number of population (Fournier,

D., Gendercide in America: Planned Parenthoods War on Baby Girls Exposed by Live Action,


The House of Representatives did not pass the ban, because abortion is legal right now in

the US. There would have to be more evidence to prove that there is gendercide going on in the

US. Placing stipulations on abortion is a like a double sided door, because its hard to know the

truth behind the reasoning of getting an abortion. Right now the government is looking at this

situation from a rights perspective. The US is not placing force on women to do these things,

but they are allowing women to exercise their rights to build their own family. This political

movement is causing uproar in the US, because this is something that is morally wrong to

perform against a female fetus.

Structural-Strain Theory is a cultural based goal with structures in society set to help

achieve these goals. In the US, everyone strives to be economically successful. There are only a

few ways to achieve that goal, which are education and careers. The structure that is placed here

in the US to achieve the education portion is public school systems, scholarship programs,

grants, student loans, and financial aid. The structures in place in the US for careers are

internships, temp employees, shadowing, student training positions, and volunteer opportunities.
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The structural-strain theory predicts deviant behavior amongst those who doesnt have

the ability or the means to reach societies goals. In the case of the US, the lower classes are

usually the ones who have a slim chance at reaching the goals of society. The theory also

explains that in some cases the lower class has the opportunity to reach the goals of society.

Since the lower class knows they are in a low-income bracket, fear and doubt will kick in. This

mindset will keep them trapped in the lower lass and they will reject assistance to reach societys


This theory also discusses a reason as to why the lower class will reject assistance. The

assistance that is given to the lower class is scarce. Imagine left over food given to the poor, well

the poor will become competitive to getting the first dibs on the serving. In lower class societies,

when scholarships or grants are given away to one person in a certain region, they must compete

for this privilege like anyone else. The competition can be very intense, because to the lower

class its their ticket out. If someone was selected for the assistance the lower class will become

envies with one another.

In Charleston, SC there was a murder case against three males who lived in a lower class

area. They were accused for murdering a male, because he was awarded a scholarship to

Clemson University. Witnesses came forth and turned in statements against the alleged

murderers, saying they were jealous of him, because he was the only one that was going to make

it. This is an example of deviance within the structural-strain theory.

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The Resource Mobilization Theory is a theory argues that for a social movement to be

successful there would have to be plenty of skills, money, and time involved. This can be true,

because the great social movements in America were planned out for it to have such an awesome

outcome. Planning anything out takes time and getting people involved takes a lot of time. The

civil rights movement actually took time to prep and also they were waiting for the right time to

initiate the social movement.

The skills involved in a social movement are vital. If a social movement is in the works,

then there should be someone with leadership skills coordinating the movement. There should be

someone who is skilled at public speaking, because for a movement to be taken serious there

should be someone to covey the message. There should be someone with organization skills

available. Organizing consists of coordinating, researching, and willingness to work behind the

scenes of the movement.

Money would be the next important thing of initiating a movement. It takes money to

publicize a movement. Money is involved to rent a place for meetings. It cost money to provide

water and snacks to those who participated in the million-man march. I believe money doesnt

have to play a role in having a social movement be successful. The civil rights movement costs

were little to none. They planned it at peoples houses, and stayed late at work to discuss the


Resource Mobilization Theory argues the success of movements, but there are several

movements mentioned earlier that had little to no money to plan out the movement. Today in the
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US, a social movement may require money. If there is something that requires lawyers, then

money has to be raised and set aside to pay those lawyers. Petitions must be signed and legal

documents must be drawn up to protect the movement.

In conclusion, social movements are vital in our communities and are heard best if

organized. The causes of movements are usually if its a moral, economic, or political issue

going on. Weve discussed the few theories on the causes and types of social movements. Social

movements are necessary if done in a nonviolent matter. Today social movements still exist and

are used to bring change in our nation.

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1. Social Movements in America: A Research Guide; Raymond Pun; published: 10/18/2011

2. Types of Social Movements; Herbert W. Simons; published: Sep, 1995

3. 'Gendercide' abortion ban fails in House,


442, published May 31, 2012

4. America now solidly Pro-Life, http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/america-

now-solidly-pro-life/, Parker, Star, published June 1, 2012

5. Gendercide Watch, http://www.gendercide.org/what_is_gendercide.html,

published 2002

6. Planned Parenthood, http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-

we-are-4648.htm, published 2012 Planned Parenthood Federation of

America Inc.

7. Gendercide in America: Planned Parenthoods War on Baby Girls Exposed

by Live Action,
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http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=46424, Deacon

Keith Fournier, published May 31, 2012

8. Souls, Bodies, Spirits: The Drive to Abolish Abortion Since 1973, Jacoby,

Kerry N., published April 2004

9. Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy,

Mohr, James C., September 1979

10. History of the Civil Rights Movement: Eric Foner and John A. Garraty,

http://www.history.com/topics/civil-rights-movement, published: 1991