Social Change

1. Collective Behavior, Social Movements, and Social Change

2. Chapter Outline

Collective Behavior

Social Movements

Social Movement Theories

Social Change in the Future

3. Slide Technoeconomic Bases of Society


4. Collective Behavior

Collective behavior is voluntary, often spontaneous activity that is engaged in by a large number of people and typically violates dominant-group norms and values.

Collective behavior can take various forms, including crowds, mobs, riots, panics, fads, fashions, and public opinion.


5. Factors That Contribute to Collective Behavior

1. Structural factors that increase the chances of people responding in a particular way.

2. Timing.

3. Breakdown in social control mechanisms and corresponding feeling of normlessness.

6. How Much Do You Know About Collective Behavior and Environmental Issues?

True or False?

The environmental movement in the United States started in the 1960s.

7. How Much Do You Know About Collective Behavior and Environmental Issues?


The environmental movement in the United States is the result of more than 100 years of collective action.

The first environmental organization, the American Forestry Association (now American Forests), originated in 1875.

8. How Much Do You Know About Collective Behavior and Environmental Issues?

True or False?

Sociologists have found that people in a community respond very similarly to natural disasters and to disasters caused by technological failures.

9. How Much Do You Know About Collective Behavior and Environmental Issues?


Most sociological studies have found that people respond differently to natural disasters and to technological disasters.

One of the major differences is the communal bonding that tends to occur following natural disasters, as compared with the extreme social conflict that may follow technological disasters.

10. Types of Crowd Behavior

Casual crowds - people who happen to be in the same place at the same time.

Conventional crowds - people who come together for a scheduled event and share a common focus.

Protest crowds -

crowds that engage in activities intended to achieve political goals; may use civil disobedience.

11. Types of Crowd Behavior

Expressive crowds - people releasing emotions with others who experience similar emotions.

Acting crowds - collectivities so intensely focused that they may erupt into violent behavior.

Mobs - directed at a specific target Riots - no specific target

Riots - no specific targets

12. Polling Question

Have you ever participated in an organized protest?

A. Yes

B. No

13. Explanations of Crowd Behaviour

Contagion Theory -People are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior in a crowd because they are anonymous and feel invulnerable.

Social unrest and circular reaction - the discontent of one person is communicated to another who reflects it back to the first person.


14. Explanations of Crowd Behaviour

Concvergence theory - focuses on the shared emotions, goals, and beliefs people bring to crowd behavior.

Emergent norm theory - Crowds develop their own definition of the situation and establish norms for behaviour that fits the occasion.


15. Breast vs. Prostate Cancer Movements

The National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) formed with the goal of imitating the successful National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), which it was unable to do. The NPCC’s top-down formation and the failure of their first activist campaign resulted in a change of the organization from a grassroots coalition to more of an interest group. For the NBCC, their successful activist campaigns locked in their organizational form as a grassroots coalition.

New Cases - 2004, Breast Cancer Females = 215,990 Prostate Cancer Males = 230,110

Deaths - 2004 Breast Cancer Females = 40,580, Prostate Cancer Males = 29,900


16. Social Movement Theories

Relative Deprivation - People compare achievements, become discontent and join social movements to get their "fair share". Does not explain why people feel discontent, but do not join a movement.

Resource Mobilization - People participate in social movements when the movement has access to key resources and political support for the cause.


17. Social Movement Theories

New Social Movement - Focus on sources of social movements, including politics, ideology, and culture. Race class gender, seuality are factors in movements such as Ecofeminism.

Social Constrtution Theory: Frame Analysis - Used to determine how people assign meaning to activities and processes in social movements. Assumption that a social movement is an interactive, symbolically defined and negotiated process involving patricipants, opponents, and bystanders.


18. Value-Added Theory

Conditions required for social movements to develop:
1. People are aware of a problem and have the opportunity to engage in collective action.

2. Society cannot meet expectations for taking care of the problem.

3. Spread of a belief of possible solutions to the problem.

4. Precipitating events reinforce the beliefs and trigger behavior.

5. Leaders emerge and mobilize participants for action

6. Society allows the movement to take action (social control must not prevent collective behavior)


19. Polling Question

Civil disobedience is better to use than militant activity for groups to get their point across for social change.

A. Strongly agree

B. Agree somewhat

C. Unsure

D. Disagree somewhat


20. Types of Social Movements

Reform movements seek to improve society by changing an aspect of the social structure.


Revolutionary movements seek to bring about a total change in society.


Religious movements seek to produce radical change in individuals and typically are based on spiritual or supernatural belief systems.

21. Types of Social Movements

Alternative movements seek limited change in some aspect of people's behavior.

Resistance movements seek to prevent or undo change that has already occured.

Resistance movements seek to prevent or undo change that has already occurred.