A Dissertation on New Social Movement Theory (2011)

There appears to be a high level of consensus among European students of social movements about trends in the recent past. Two parallel and opposed developments have occurred. On one hand, labour movements, concerned to improve workers’ material conditions, have declined in significance. On the other hand, new social movements, concerned with such oppressions as those around gender, sexuality and race and with such pathologies of modernity as militarism and environmental degradation, have become more important. This consensus, which began to emerge in the early 1980s, was not accidental. That period witnessed the rapid growth of peace movements, and the increasing prominence of the Green movement in West Germany and elsewhere. Around the same time most of the advanced economies of Europe, North America, and Japan experienced significant declines in levels of strike action. Reflecting on these dual and opposing trends, social movement theorists sought explanations to encompass both developments. Why were New Social Movements (NSMs) becoming more important while labour movements were declining? Out of their reflections, in an intellectual context marked by a discrediting of traditional Marxism, there appeared a paradigmatic account, which this article critically reviews.

  • 12,000 words – 46 pages in length
  • Excellent use of literature
  • Well written throughout
  • Ideal for sociology students

The Paradigm
Socio-economic Development
New Social Movements

Beyond the Paradigm

Analyzing Class and Social Movements
An Example: Racism and British Trade Unionism

Secular-Structural or Conjunctural Explanation?

Roots of the Current Conjuncture

The Return of Class?

An Open Conclusion


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