Types of Social Movements
Social movements arc difficult to classify however, sociologists distinguish among movements on the of their and the amount of change they seek to produce (Abler. 1966; Lumber, 1974). Some seek to change people whereas others seek to change society. Reform Movements Grass environmental movements are an example movements. which seek to improve sock changing some specific aspect of the social structure. Members of reform movements usually work within the existing system to attempt to change existing public policy so that it more adequately reflects their own value system. Examples of reform movements (in addition to the environmental movement) include labor movements, animal rights movements. antinuclear movements. Mothers Against Drunk Driving. and the disability rights movement. Sociologist Lori Britt (J 993) suggested that some movements arise specifically to alter social responses to and definitions of stigmatized attributes, From this perspective, social movements may bring about changes in societal attitudes and practices while at the same time causing changes in participants' social emotions, For example. the civil rights and gay rights movements helped replace shame with pride (Britt, 1993), Such a sense of pride may extend beyond current members of a reform movement. Tole late Cesar Chavez, organizer of a Mexican American fieldworkers' movement that developed into the United Farm Workers Union. noted that the "consciousness and pride raised by our union is alive and thriving inside millions of young Hispanics who will never work on a farm!" (qt. in Ayala, 1993: E4).
Revolutionary Movements Movements seeking to bring about a total change in society are referred to as rcvolutiolll"Y movements. These movements usually do
not attempt to work within the existing system; rather. they aim to remake the system by replacing existing institutions with new ones. Revolutionary movements
range from Utopian groups seeking to establish deal society to radical terrorists who use fear tactics to intimidate those with whom they disagree ideologically (see Alexander and Gill, 1984; Berger. 1988; Vetter and Perlstein. 1991). Movements based on terrorism often use tactics such as bombings, kidnappings, hostage taking. hijackings, and assassinations (Vetter and Perlstein. 1991). Over the past thirty years, a number of movements in the United States have engaged in terrorist activities or supported a policy of violence, However, the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D,C.. on September II. 2001, and the events that followed those attacks proved to all of us that terrorism within this country can originate from the activities of revolutionary terrorists from outside the country as well. religious Movements Social movements that seek to produce radical change in individuals are typically based on spiritual or supernatural belief systems. Also
referred to as expressive movements, religious movements arc concerned with renovating or renewing people through "inner change:' Fundamentalist religious
groups seeking to cover their belief system are an example of this type of movement. Some religious movements are l-that is. they forecast that "the end is near" and assert that an immediate change in behavior is imperative. Relatively now religious movements in industrialized Western societies have included the Hare Krishnas, the Unification Scientology. and the Divine Light Mission. all of which tend to appeal to the psychological and social needs of young people seeking meaning in life that mainstream religions have not provided for them. "'- Alternative Movements Movements that seek limited change in some aspect of people's behavior are referred to as alternative movements. For example. earl in the twentieth century the Women's Christian Temperance Union attempted to get people to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.Some analysts place "therapeutic social movements" such Alcoholics Anonymous in this category: however. others do not, due to their belief that people must change their lives completely in order to overcome alcohol abuse (see Bloomberg. 1977).More recently.a variety of "New Age" movements have directed people's behavior by emphasizing spiritual consciousness combined with a belief in reincarnation and astrology. Such practices as vegetarianism. meditation, and holistic medicine are often included in the self-improvement category. Beginning in the 1990s. some alternative movements have included the practice of yoga (usually without its traditional background in the Hindu religion) as a means by which the self can be liberated and union can be achieved with the supreme spirit or universal soul. Resistance Movements Also referred to as regressive movements, resistance movements seek to prevent change or to undo change that has already occurred. Virtually all of the proactive social movements previously discussed face resistance from one or more reactive movements that hold opposing viewpoints
and want to foster public policies that reflect their own beliefs. Examples of resistance movements are groups organized since the 1950s to oppose school integration. civil rights and affirmative action legislation. and domestic partnership- initiatives. However. perhaps the most widely known resistance movement includes many who label themselves as "pro-life" advocates- such as Operation Rescue. which seeks to close abortion climes and make abortion Illegal under all circumstances (Gray. 1993; Vall Biema, 1993). Protests by some radical antiabcrtion groups have grown violent. resulting in the death of several doctors and clinic workers. and creating fear among health professionals and patients seeking abortions (Belkin. 1994).