Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Social Movements

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_290


Social movements (SMs) are means of organizing for social change, one of the most important forms of contentious politics in the modern world. Their origins can be traced to the Enlightenment era (eighteenth century), when, for the first time, society was conceived as a human product that could be transformed. Nonetheless, SMs in themselves did not attract the interest of scholars until the second half of nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the first use of the expression “social movement, by the German sociologist Lorenz Von Stein, dates back to 1850, when the use of it was just within a nominative aim and there was little interest in the phenomenon itself.

Psychologists began to be interested in the topic at the end of nineteenth century, through the study of crowd behavior by Gabriel Tarde, Gustav Le Bon, and Sigmund Freud. However, it was only in second half of twentieth century that SMs gained recognition as social actions and became a proper subject of study. That...

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Online Resources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Escuela de PsicologíaPontificia Universidad Católica de ValparaísoViña del MarChile
  2. 2.Departament of PedagogyUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliTarragonaSpain