COMPONENTS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

COMPONENTS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

Social movements have five main componants: Objectives, ideology, programmes, leadership, and organisation. They are interdependent, influencing each other. As discussed above emotional outcry of group of people in the form of crowd is not social movement. Social movement is related to social and political change. So it has an immediate and long term objective. The immediate objective may be to resolve a particular issue or protest against the decision of the authority. But that collective action does not end there. It takes up other issues and proceed to a long term objective of changing authority, power relationship, dominance and political system. For the long term objective the movement evolves strategy for action. It gives priorities to certain programmes over others, and also focuses on a particular direction, mobilises certain groups. The path of action is closely related to or get evolved with the notion of the desired social change. It involves a set of ideas, propositions and values that enable to perceive in particular manner social reality. The set of ideas and ideals form ideology. The ideology is not necessarily well-knit, nor always preconceived. In some cases ideology directs the movement and in other cases ideology gets evolved and directs the movement. Leadership plays important role in articulation of ideology and evolving strategies for action. Social movement involves mobilisation of people who in course of the process identify with the objective of the movement. They share values and begin to share perception of common understanding of social reality. For their mobilisation and to sustain their participation, the leader(s) evolve different programmes. This also requires some kind of organisation. The organisation may be loose or well formed with centralised or decentralised decision-making system for launching programmes.

Neither of these components are a priori and static. They evolve. Their nature and function vary from movement to movement. In some movements they are found in rudimentary form whereas in others they are fairly well developed. These components — leadership, organisation and also ideology do get changed in the course of the movement. In some cases, even the objectives change and move in different direction than the earlier ones.

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