studying theory in motion

The use of blogging is not a new concept to me. I have a blog for me to spur down my experiences of walks that I have been on, talk about my depression and occasionally (but not enough!) talk about the history of the places I’ve walked. I connect better with work when I’m talking about a topic that I’m passionate about and that’s exactly what I’m going to use this blog account for, discussing the idea and movement of protests in conjunction with different causes that I feel closely passionate about. To some extent, in order to have a successful social movement, a group must have enough passion about the cause.

Charles Tilly’s theory of social movement is that the action of it emerged from three different elements:

  1. an organised public effort making shared claims on target authorities (a campaign)
  2. social movement repertoire (a toolbox of different activities eg rallies, vigils, petition drives)
  3. W.U.N.C – worthiness, unity, numbers, commitment.

Amusingly, the reason I can remember WUNC is because of a friend’s snapchat.

16118133_1193619684026129_1074716900_n (credit to friend who posted this – coolest man in Chick Chicken)

Tilly is often regarded as pioneering in social movement theory, but as a pioneer, he is seen as not relevant and old fashioned. Alan Scott’s New Social Movement (NSM) is a theory that in order to have a successful social movement, the movement needs to re-educate society about the cause they are fighting for. I agree with Scott, I believe that in order for a social movement to make a change, you have to educate your society to change their perception about your cause. Take mental health, for example. In the past, if you were perceived to be mentally unwell/unstable, you would be sent away to an asylum and receive terrible medical treatment no matter what your condition is. Today, with the help of charities such as Mind and Time to Change, mental health stigma has been taken seriously and many are understanding about it. There are many petitions about mental health too, a friend of mine attempted to get her petition about providing accessible mental health services for 18 -30s to be debated in parliament, but ultimately failed as it did not receive many signatures. The failure of the lack of numbers supports Tilly’s social movement.

As someone who has passion for many different causes and has been involved in many using Scott’s NSM, from child and adolescent mental health to young carers, from carers receiving benefits to young people learning about voting, I am looking forward to studying the history of how those who managed to succeed or fail in their own social movements and the theory behind it. Hopefully my depression won’t make me lose sight of these causes and to appreciate them as much as I can.

Music listened to: Houses in Motion – Talking Heads

For a long time I felt without style or grace
Wearing shoes with no socks in cold weather
I knew my heart was in the right place
I knew I’d be able to do these things.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s