Stages in Social Movements
Do all social movements go through similar stages? Not necessarily. but there appear to be identifiable stages in virtually all movements that succeed beyond their initial phase of development. In. the preliminary (or incipience) stag», widespread
unrest is present as people begin to become aware of a problem. At this stage, leaders emerge to agitate others into taking action. In the coalescence stage. people
begin to organize and to publicize the problem. At this stage. some movements become formally organized at local and regional levels. In the institutionalization (or bureaucratization) stage, an organizational structure develops. and a paid staff (rather than volunteers) begins to lead the group. When the movement reaches
this stage. the initial zeal and idealism of members m3Y diminish as administrators take over management of the organization. Early grassroots supporters may become disillusioned and drop out; they may also start another movement to address some as-yet unsolved aspect of the original problem. For example, some national environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club. the National Audubon Society.and the National Parks and Conservation Association-that started as grassroots conservation movements are currently viewed by many people as being unresponsive to local environmental problems (Cable and Cable. 1995). As a result. new movements have arisen .