Social Movement Theory

1491 Words6 Pages
In 2013, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was created in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. I first became aware of the movement through social media sites such as Tumblr, where users were discussing issues of injustice and systemic racism in the United States. I was confronted with the inability of the legal system to provide recourse and justice for Martin. The BLM movement was instrumental in revealing ongoing experiences and mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States. Before the BLM movement, I was aware that although there have been great advances made in the empowerment and equality of African-Americans, racism had not disappeared. Yet, I was not aware or…show more content…
The BLM movement has utilized social media to organize, protest, and renew the awareness of many issues and conditions facing marginalized communities across the U.S. (Byrd et al. 1872). This essay will examine the following theories: collective behavior theory, resource mobilization theory, political process theory, and the new social movement theory to best explain the impact of social movement diffusion. Furthermore, this essay will address how these theories may be disconfirmed by my…show more content…
According to the new social movement theory, new movements mobilize because there are new grievances in the post-industrial society which have resulted in new values, forms of actions and constituencies (Staggenborg and Ramos, 27). The BLM movement came into being at a moment when a particular set of intersecting shifts in politics, technology and the economy combined to produce a renewed focus on societal violence that target African-Americans (White, 86). The process of collective identity influences movement diffusion, this process refers to the sense of shared experience and values that connect individuals to movements and gives participants the feeling that they can effect change through collective action (Staggenborg and Ramos, 28). Through social media, "hashtags often relate to individuals ' social belief systems, which are their understanding of the relations among groups and separate identities from unwanted cultural or political mergers with other collective identities" (Byrd et al. 1873). I could not identify with issues of police brutality because I do not have any experience relating to such issues, but the values of the movement which sought freedom from discrimination, injustice and racism helped me relate to the movement. Social media provided a platform to learn about the political, cultural, and social issues of black communities affected by violence which influenced my support for the movement. My own beliefs and values reinforced my opinions about new
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