How to write an essay on Understanding social movements

How to write an essay on Understanding social movements

SR4001: Understanding Social Movements – Analyze the major sociological theories, concepts, and issues that inform the study of social movements.

 Written Response Submission Form

 Your Name: First and last

 Your E-Mail Address: Your e-mail here


Write your responses where it reads “Enter your response here.”Write as much, as needed, to satisfy the requirements indicated.Each item contains the Rubric, which will be used to evaluate your responses.

Item 1

Your Response

The encyclopedia of social theory elaborates the origin, growth, decline, and outcomes of social movements. The resource supports the notion that what starts as a sound ends in a deed. A social movement starts as a sound or a form of agitation, which may end in fulfillment and reduction in the agitation. The second resource includes an elaboration of the four stages of social movements. The four stages are crucial in eradicating or fulfilling what started as a word that may end in action during the final stage of the social movement.

Finally, the resource by Locher provides elaborates the social movements and their historical perspectives. It explains all the aspects and domains of social movements. The resource supports the notion that speech has power. Speech is one of the forms individuals use in social movements. The people may articulate their goals to enlighten individuals. The speech can be the reason for safeguarding social change or changing social behavior and perspectives.

Item 2

Your Response

A social movement is a sustained and loosely organized campaign supporting a particular social goal that involves implementing and preventing a change in the structure and values of society. The movements are essentially collective in nature (Selvanathan et al., 2018). Typically, social movements result from individuals fighting for a particular course coming together. Procedures and rules commonly define the relationship of these individuals. When they feel a certain social change is imminent in the society that may have devastating effects, they may come together in a social movement to prevent its implementation. The main goal of social movement is preventing or supporting social change.

Social movement does matter in a society. They do not necessarily change laws and achieve an agenda. They may also provide community members with an opportunity to come together, speak what is in their minds and make individuals aware of particular matters close to their hearts (Michelon et al., 2020). Additionally, it allows the citizens of a particular state to practice their constitutional rights. Citizens are the drivers of justice and injustice that may occur. Coming together in a social movement prevents injustices from prevailing and degenerating the known values of a known society.

Item 3

Your Response

Various types of social movements exist. They include alternative, redemptive, reformative, and revolutionary movements (Almeida et al., 2018). Alternative social movements focus on self-improvement. It is limited and specific to individual changes and beliefs. These movements may include  Planned Parenthood, mothers against drunk driving,   and alcohol anonymous. Redemptive movements focus on a specific cohort or segment of the population. The goal of the movement is to provoke spiritual growth or inner change.

Reformative social movements are made to seek to change a specific thing in the social structure. They may seek a limited change or a change that affects the entire population. These movements may include the environmental movements that will reduce the use of non-renewable energy sources in society. Finally, revolutionary movements seek to change the entire aspect of society. The aim is to change the entire society dramatically. Examples include the civil rights movements.



Item 4

Based on your understanding of the four types of social movements, explain which type you think would be the easiest to organize and sustain and why and which would be most difficult to organize and sustain? Include details and examples to support your reasoning.

Your Response

The easiest type of social movement to organize and sustain is the alternative movement. The alternative movement is easy to organize and sustain for various reasons. Firstly, it focuses on the self-improvement of a particular trait.   Secondly, the movement is specific and seeks to change individual behaviors and beliefs (Young et al., 2019). The movement does not require a lot of resources as it focuses on a particular community. It is also less susceptible to resistance as it is specific to a particular change or behavior.

The most difficult social movement to organize and execute is revolutionary movements. Changing an aspect of society completely requires much effort and resources. Resistance is intense as it seeks to change the way of life of individuals. People may be opposed to the new status being imposed on them. Finally, the movement requires support from social and community leaders. Without the support sustaining the movement may be difficult due to its enormity.

Item 5

Define resource mobilization theory and analyze how this theory can help explain how and why social movements succeed or fail. (2 paragraphs)

Your Response

Resource mobilization theory is commonly used in the study of social movements. It is believed that the success of a social movement depends on the availability of the resources and the ability to utilize them. According to the theory, individuals need to acquire and deploy resources to achieve their well-defined goals (Campbell, 2018). The resources needed to facilitate a social movement include materials such as money and physical capital, morale, social networks, human and cultural resources.

Resources’ ability determines whether a social movement will be a success or a failure. Firstly, the lack of materials such as money and the location of a movement means that a social movement cannot occur. Money can also be used to make posters and communicate via social media platforms to inform individuals of the date and the venue for the social movement. Few individuals may appear when the individuals are not aware of these parameters, rendering the movement ineffective.

Item 6

Define framing analysis theory and analyze how this theory can help explain how and why social movements succeed or fail. (2 paragraphs)

Your Response

The framing analysis model analyzes how individuals understand situations and activities. The theory looks at messages, actors, metaphors, stereotypes,  images, and other elements. It examines the importance of these elements and how and when they should be selected (Andersen et al., 2020). It can be used in framing how individuals interpret and process information. The framing can speed the process of interpretation of a phenomenon.

The framing analysis theory may determine the success or failure of a social movement. For the success of a social movement, individuals need to understand the impacts and the elements of the goals and objectives of the movement. When individuals understand that the social movement will affect their lives positively, they will be more involved in the protest. Lack of understanding may lead to a complete failure of the social movement.

Item 7

Choose a contemporary social movement you have supported, seen, or read about. What aspects of the movement would a resource mobilization theorist examine most closely? What would a framing analysis theorist examine most closely? Include details and examples to support your reasoning. (2–3 paragraphs)

Your Response

I have read about the social rights movement in the American Civil Rights Movement. The movement’s main aim was to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination in the United States. The resource mobilization and the framing analysis theorists will examine various aspects closely. The resource mobilization theory will examine the availability of resources to facilitate the social movement. Firstly it may focus on the availability of resources such as money and materials. Materials such as posters and banners with civil rights messages were used to communicate their messages across to the government and social institutions; additionally, they may require a venue in the community for the protests.

The framing theorist may also examine various elements. The first element is how the individuals will react to the social movement. A positive reaction will translate to successful outcomes. Secondly, the theorist will examine the understanding of the individuals regarding the social movement theory. The understanding of the individuals will improve their involvement in the social course.

Item 8

Summarize the stages and life cycle of social movements. Which stage do you think poses the biggest hurdle to developing a successful and enduring social movement, and why? Include details and examples to support your reasoning. (2–4 paragraphs)

Your Response

Social movements have various stages or life cycles. The four stages of a social movement include emergence, coalescence, institutionalization or bureaucratization,  and decline (Michelon et al., 2020). In the Emergence stage, the social movements begin due to numerous reasons. Individuals may feel agitated by a particular discourse in society. In this phase, the individuals are agitated and feel the need for a social change or safeguard.

Coalescence is the second stage of social movement. Here the leaders advocating for a social change determine how they will recruit new members and accomplish their goals and objectives. The use of new media can be used to publicize the social movement. This is the most difficult phase of social movement. It involves mobilizing resources and finding volunteers who can support the social movement. Lack of resources and support can lead to the failure of the movement.

The third phase is institutionalization and bureaucratization. In this stage, the movement grows and often tends to be bureaucratized. Paid leaders and staff may replace the volunteers that began the movement. The fourth stage involves the decline of the social movement. The movement may decline if the goals have been met. It may also decline if there are no resources to sustain it. Lack of enthusiasm and money are the main reasons social movements decline.

Item 9

Think about your own experiences or interactions with social movements or experiences/interactions within social movements in which others have been involved. Perhaps you, or someone you know, has participated in a movement, learned about a movement in school, seen or heard about a movement in the news, or been asked to join or support a movement. Describe that social movement and interaction with it. Which stage was the movement most likely going through at the time? Explain your reasoning. (2 paragraphs)

Your Response

I have witnessed a social movement in my organization. The road leading to the institution was experiencing many accidents due to a lack of traffic lights and road signs. In that time, more than 50 students had been involved in an accident within the past three years. The student leaders saw the need to advocate for restructuring the area to reduce the frequent accidents that could eventually cause the loss of one of them.

I joined the social movement in the second stage. The leaders were recruiting individuals. I felt the need to support restructuring the area to reduce the frequent accident. I was recruited as a volunteer. I was required to come with banners that support the setting up of traffic lights and road signs in the area.

Item 10

Review and reflect on the methods of contention that social movements use to achieve their goals. Identify a method that you believe:

  • It would be highly effective at helping a movement recruit large numbers of participants
  • Would be highly effective at galvanizing existing supporters
  • Might inadvertently alienate potential supporters or arouse opposition to the movement

Include examples or potential scenarios to explain your reasoning. (3 paragraphs)

Your Response

Social movements utilize various contention methods to achieve their goals the methods of contention I believe in include helping the movement recruit a large number of participants. Studies indicate that the number of participants increases the success of a social movement. A high number of participants can allow for effective mobilization of resources and allow individuals and leaders in the society to identify the grave nature of the movement.

Secondly, I believe in galvanizing the existing supporters. Increasing the level of enthusiasm of the supporters increases the accomplishment of the specific goals of the movement. While looking for other supporters, the existing members should be excited about taking action. This prevents the failure of the social movement.

Social movements are crucial for facilitating and reinforcing a particular change. I believe that recruiting and galvanizing members is crucial in ensuring that the goals and objectives of the movement are met. Individuals should recruit many supports and galvanize them to increase their enthusiasm for the social course.

Item 11

Explain two or more practical or strategic advantages for social movements using nonviolent forms of contention. Then explain why nonviolent movements are often more successful than violent ones. (2 paragraphs)


Various social movements have utilized violent or nonviolent forms of contention to communicate their desires. Some groups or radical flanks may seek violent actions such as street rioting to communicate their messages. These are violent contention methods. The social movements should utilize nonviolent confrontation involving picketing, information warfare, vigils, satyagraha, and magnitizdat, among others. The nonviolent forms of contention have strategic advantages. Firstly it does not involve the loss of lives and properties. Secondly, nonviolent protests can be attended by more people. This is because the participants feel more comfortable attending these social movements.

Nonviolent protests are often more successful than violent ones. They diffuse spatially, allowing for effective ways of achieving social and political goals. They are also attended by many individuals increases the likelihood of success. Finally, political leaders and implementers of change may focus on reducing violence and its impact rather than the movement’s goals. This increases the likelihood of failure.


Almeida, P., & Chase-Dunn, C. (2018). Globalization and social movements. Annual Review of Sociology44, 189-211. Almeida, P., & Chase-Dunn, C. (2018). Globalization and social movements. Annual Review of Sociology44, 189-211.

Campbell, A. (2018). A Comparison of unschoolers and evangelical homeschoolers in Central Texas through the lens of resource mobilization theory.

Michelon, G., Rodrigue, M., & Trevisan, E. (2020). The marketization of a social movement: Activists, shareholders, and CSR disclosure. Accounting, Organizations and Society80, 101074.

Selvanathan, H. P., & Jetten, J. (2020). From marches to movements: Building and sustaining a social movement following collective action. Current opinion in psychology35, 81-85.

Young, A., Selander, L., & Vaast, E. (2019). Digital organizing for social impact: Current insights and future research avenues on collective action, social movements, and digital technologies. Information and Organization29(3), 100257.

Mastery Rubric

In order to achieve mastery of this Competency, you must achieve a “2” on every rubric row in addition to meeting the additional expectation indicated in the Mastery Rubric.

Mastery Rubric No Yes
Exceeds Expectations: In-Depth Analysis
Explores issues/objects/works through the collection and analysis of evidence that result in informed conclusions/judgments.


Explanations of sociological theories, concepts, and issues that inform the study of social movements do not evidence in-depth thinking and informed conclusions.


Explanations of sociological theories, concepts, and issues that inform the study of social movementsevidence in-depth thinking and informed conclusions.


Professional Skills Building

The faculty Assessor will provide feedback based on the following Professional Skills: Written Communication and Information Literacy. Although the feedback is here to inform the development of your skills, it is not a barrier to achieving the Competency, unless the writing is too poor to be able to score the content of the Assessment. Review the rubric and check your work based on the Learning Objectives listed. If you are concerned that your writing will not meet these expectations yet, reach out to your Faculty Subject Matter Expert (SME) so he or she can work with you to further develop this important professional skill.


It is highly recommended that you use this opportunity to practice these important skills in the context of this Competency Assessment in order to receive feedback about your current level of proficiency.

Professional Skills Building 0

Not Present


Needs Improvement


Meets Expectations

  Written Communication: Write with clarity, coherence, and purpose.
  Written Communication WC 1.1:

Construct complete and correct sentences.

Sentences are incoherent and impede a reader’s access to ideas. Sentences are incomplete and/or include fragments and run-on sentences, limiting the reader’s access to ideas. Sentence structure effectively conveys meaning to the reader.
  Written Communication WC 1.2:

Demonstrate the effective use of grammar and mechanics.

Multiple inaccuracies in grammar and mechanics impede the reader’s access to ideas. Some inaccuracies in grammar and mechanics limit reader’s access to ideas. Use of grammar and mechanics is straightforward and effectively conveys meaning to the reader.
  Written Communication WC 1.3:

Create cohesive paragraphs with a clear central idea.

Paragraphs, or lack of paragraphs, impede the reader’s access to ideas. Construction of the main idea and/or supporting paragraphs limits the reader’s access to ideas. The main idea and/or supporting paragraphs effectively convey meaning to the reader.
  Written Communication WC 1.4:

Use supporting material to support a claim.

Supporting materials are not present. Supporting material is used inconsistently or inappropriately. Supporting material is used to enhance meaning. Writing is appropriately paraphrased and uses direct quotes as applicable.



  Written Communication WC 1.6:

Identify sources.

Sources are missing. Writing inconsistently identifies or misrepresents sources. Writing clearly identifies the source of nonoriginal material and/or ideas.
  Information Literacy: Apply strategies to evaluate information in order to effectively analyze issues and make decisions.
  Information Literacy IL 1.2: Analyze information sources. The analysis is not present. Analysis superficially applies aspects of sources that are most relevant to the topic and/or assessment and/or analysis is unclear. Analysis thoroughly and clearly applies aspects of sources that are most relevant to the topic and/or assessment.

Related Posts: