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Social Change and Direction Actions


I have been reading and studying a lot of different works from different sociologists on the topic of social change. I'm a little confused on what the message of the readings are and wanted to try and gain a clearer understanding.

My main question is; from the standpoint of social change, what are the advantages and limits of resorting to direct action (sit-ins, occupations, demonstrations, strikes, etc.)?

What are some specific examples of this from American politics and society?

What are some of the sociological perspectives covered by these readings that relate to this idea?

Any specific examples and quotes would be very helpful! The readings I am trying to understand are listed below:

- Piven, Frances Fox and Richard A. Cloward. 2000. Why Americans still don't Vote. Boston: Beacon Press. Pp. 23-71, 108-36.
- Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1963. The First New Nation: the United States in Historical and Comparative Perspective. New York: Basic Books. Pp. 101-139, 207-247.
- Moore, Barrington, Jr. 1966. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Boston: Beacon Press. Pp. 413-432.
- de Leon, Cedric. 2008. "'No Bourgeois Mass Party, No Democracy': The Missing Link in Barrington Moore's American Civil War." Political Power and Social Theory 19: 39-82.
- Gitlin, Todd. 2003. The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 146-246.

Thank you so much!

Solution Preview

Dear Student,

Hi, and thank you for using BrainMass. The solution below should get you started. In this particular task, you are being asked to reflect on the topic of social change. You have some very interesting readings and one way you can show comprehension on them is by including them in your answer. First off, however, you need to define the terminologies so that you can reflect on it from a sociological perspective. Thus I suggest using this simple outline:

1. Terminologies - Here define the main terms that you will tackle, including a discussion of direct action - 200 words
2. American examples (advantage disadvantage) - 100 words
3. Sociological perspectives (draw from the top 3 - functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism - 200

As you can see, this is designed for a concise narrative. You can also use the listed resources to further explore the topic. All the best with your studies!

AE 105878/Xenia Jones

Social Change & Direct Action

When inequality and injustice rear their destructive head in society, advocacy groups and the larger society in general call for things to be repaired, for the status quo to change, so as to overcome the problems and issues that ills society. Essentially, people - advocacy groups, concerned individuals, government agencies tasked for a certain action, political movements, social movements - they 'do something' to incite some form of treatment to resolve the issues - to change society and achieve political, economic, or social goals. The action can be direct or through normal social/political channels dependent on the context of the group, of the aim and of the issue. Direct action can be violent or non-violent targeting people, groups, or property that offend impact or aggravate the situation further. In most cases, advocacy and political groups utilize non-violent direct action like strikes, workplace occupations, sit-ins, and graffiti. The worst-case violent action includes assault, rioting and murder. It is quite possible to argue that direct actions are a form of civil disobedience (like a workforce on strike) but they do not in most cases violate criminal law as it allows for the practice of civil and human rights. One more then - let me reiterate the meaning of key terms:

a) Social change can refer to an event or phenomenon that alters/transforms the behaviors/reactions or constitution of a social group with shared values/identity. It can also mean acts of advocacy that causes positive ...

Solution Summary

The following posting helps with problems involving social change and direction actions.