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Civil Rights Movement Through a Lens of Institutionalism


I have been studying the Civil Rights Movement for some time and the overall idea of the movement from the sociological perspective of institutionalism. I am curious about what kinds of institutions that had their own interests in mind so that they were acting in order to support their self-interests existed and played a role during this movement. I was wondering if you could answer the following questions for me so I am able to get a better understanding of the revolution based on this perspective?

1. What were the different types of institutions that played a role in the civil rights movement (media, state & political parties, etc.)?
2. How did these institutions contribute to the success or failure of the movement?
3. How does Barrington Moore's "American Civil War." Political Power and Social Theory 19 relate to the institutionalism that existed in the Civil Rights Movement?
4. How does Todd Gitlin's,"The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left" relate to the institutionalism that existed in the movement?
5. How is this movement a direct example of how institutionalism can have a large impact on social movement and social change?
6. How did institutionalism help the movement succeed or fail in this particular context?

Thank you so much for your help.

Solution Preview

Hi there,
In this particular task, you are asking for help in analysing a period in American history. For an outline, what we will do is follow the questions as set out; each section will receive a minimum of 150 words in terms of response. It will be thus a Q&A. You can use the listed resources to further explore the topic. Just let me know via the feedback section if you need further clarification. All the best with your studies. Thank you for asking BrainMass.

Q&A: The American Civil Rights

It is important first off to note that sociology views society using sociological perspectives most utilized of which are the functionalist (society is a machine/system where everything has a function so that problems can arise from non-functioning/function-related issues), conflict (society is a system where people compete for resources and power) and symbolic interactionist (the manner by which people interact with each other contribute to how they make meaning about self and reality) perspectives. Using these 3 perspectives, provide what we call a macro (from a general level - similar to a Federal or state overview of social issues), mezzo (from a community level, similar to city or town's grasp of an issue) and micro (from an intimate group or individual level) analysis of the social system, a framework that allows for exploration and comprehension of a vast, dynamic and complex social system. Sociology is the science that attempts to understand human behavior, how and why people behave the way they do, the systems and environments that allow for society to happen and thrive as well as the study of the myriad mechanisms that contribute to its continuation and development (i.e. social organization, social groups, social agencies, culture). Here, we discuss important ideas in relation to a socially situated event - the American Civil Rights Movement. What happened after the movement was the reestablishment of a new social system that 'corrected' perceived civil inequalities due to race, gender, disabilities, belief systems and ethnicities. The civil rights movement moved society to establish a 'new' social standard so that the dialogue of social equality became prominent in social discourse thereafter.

1. What were the different types of institutions that played a role in the civil rights movement (media, state & political parties, etc.)?

a. There are quite a number of social institutions that took part. First off, it is important to note that social institutions are social groups organized formally or in existence because of cultural systems (i.e. ethnic groups, religious organizations) and can either be primary (semi-formal, intimate groups where the individual finds familiarity - as in a family ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of the Civil Rights Movement in through a sociological study based on the works of theorists like Moore and Gitlin. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. A word version is attached. The solution is in the format of a Q&A.