Psychology / Social Movements And Modernization

Social Movements And Modernization

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Autor:  anton  21 November 2010
Tags:  Social,  Movements,  Modernization
Words: 607   |   Pages: 3
Views: 529

According to the book Society: The Basics, social change can be defined as, “the transformation of culture and social institutions over time” (Macionis, 2006, p. 451). There are four main causes of social change: cultural change, conflicts, changes in ideas, and demographic changes (Macionis, 2006). Four primary stages of a social change are “emergence, coalescence, bureaucratization, and decline” (Macionis, 2006). Social movements have shaped the United States and social movements will continue to shape the face of the United States. In fact, many of these movements are taking place at this very moment. Additionally, social movements can generally be placed into one of four social movements categories; these categories are alternative social movements, redemptive social movements, reformative social movements and revolutionary social movements (Macionis, 2006).

An alternative social movement is typically targets a specific group of people and promises to help enrich the lives of those who follow (Macionis, 2006). One current example of an alternative social movement, which is becoming increasingly popular in the military community, is home schooling. This alternative to public school is becoming increasingly popular as a dissatisfaction of public schools increases among parents. A redemptive social movement is similar to an alternative social movement, in that it also targets a specific group, but a more extreme change is desired than that of alternative social movements (Macionis, 2006). A current example of a redemptive social movement is anti-death penalty movement. This movement cites the main reason for their movement as the 8th Commandment, which says that thou shalt not kill. A current reformative social movement aims at one specific issue, but targets all of society (Macionis, 2006). One example of a reformative social movement is the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. PETA’s primary goal is to decrease the slaughter of animals for selfish reasons. In recent years, PETA has specifically sought out to reform those in the public eye, like singer/actress Jennifer Lopez, but PETA’s campaigns are widespread. A revolutionary social movement seeks to change all members of society (Macionis, 2006). A current example of a revolutionary social movement is the National Organization for Women, or NOW. NOW’s primary goal is to close the gap on gender inequality and seeks to empower women. Now was established in 1966 and currently continues to fight for women equality.

Modernization is a term used to describe the social changes in society that are brought about by industrialization (Macionis, 2006). Sociologist Peter Berger describes four factors that are present in modernization (Macionis, 2006). First, Berger lists a reduction in smaller, more traditional communities as the first step in modernization (Macionis, 2006). For example, many people are moving away from rural areas to more urban areas. Second, Berger lists an increase in the amount of choices that an individual can make as the second step in modernization (Macionis, 2006). Today, one can chose to have one of many varied religious beliefs, one can chose what clothing he or she wishes to wear, or what foods to eat. Third, Berger lists an increase in a society’s diversity as the third step in modernization (Macionis, 2006). The United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Lastly, Berger lists society’s shift from that of looking back at the past to looking ahead to the future as the last step in modernization (Macionis, 2006). In other words, the shift in society looks forward to the promise of a better life with future technological advances, and less on learning lessons from the history of society’s forefathers.


Macionis, J. J. (2006). Society: The basics (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice


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