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Global Social Movements and World Revolutions in the Twenty-First Century

  • Christopher Chase-DunnEmail author
  • Sandor Nagy
Chapter

Abstract

Social movements and revolutions are characterized as actions by excluded collectivities that use non-institutional strategies and tactics in sustained campaigns for social change. David A. Snow and Sarah Soule also define social movements as collective actions that either challenge or defend existing structures or systems of authority. It is important to address several assumptions that are often made in the social movement literature, especially when analyzing social movements in a global perspective. Most of the social movement literature focuses on exclusively modern movements that are characterized as “proactive” and ignores or dismisses the study of so-called reactive movements that were carried out by “primitive rebels.” This distinction implies that the peasant revolts and revolutions that were legitimated in religious terms are outside the domain of the field. Recent work on revolutions recognizes that popular revolts like modern political upheavals were already occurring in Bronze Age Egypt, and it is now claimed that collective behavior and rudimentary social movement-type activity are likely to have played an important role in social change since the Stone Age.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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