Social movements strive to introduce some change into the existing social, economic, or political order. This mission reflects primarily on their external interactions, as it often stirs strong reactions by the established system, reactions which have to be forestalled and confronted. The diverse and volatile nature of empirical phenomena included under the umbrella term "social movement" drives pundits to try to elaborate the term further; at the same time, it hampers their efforts to arrive at a distinctive and widely accepted definition. Scholars then readdress basic issues, such as the distinguishing organizational features of social movements, their typical structure of goals, relationships with the established system,' stages of life-cycle and major motives for mass participation in their activities. New qualifications and sub-categorizations arise and fade; still, the major obstacles to a disciplinary consolidation remain. Radicals exalt social movements, as authentic manifestations of the public will, whereas conservatives portray them as sheer reflections of the mob's whims or as irresponsible fringe associations.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change|
|State||Published - 1993|