Definition of Social Movement and Neil Smelser's Predictive Theory

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Definition of Social Movement and Neil Smelser's Predictive Theory

It is not simple to present the satisfying definition of social movements. To clarify any confusion about this matter, I am going to give definitions of collective behavior and social movement; collective behavior is defined as activity involving a relatively large number of people that is often spontaneous and very typically in violation of established social norms. Social movements, by contrast, are organized and relatively sustained activities that have a clear goal in terms of achieving or preventing some social change. To search broader knowledge of social movements, sociologist Neil Smelser argued that there are two kinds of social movement. One is norm-oriented
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One good example to demonstrate reform movements is Nashville sit-ins movement (1959-1961). On February 1. 1960, four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College students captured America’s attention when they sat down at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and requested service. However, prior to this demonstration and between 1943 and 1960, sit-ins had taken place in Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, and at least fifteen cities, including Nashville, Tennessee. The earlier protests did not gain full attention until 1960, when the southern civil rights movement gained momentum.

Although Nashville was considered to be the “Athens of the South” and a few blacks served on the Board of Education, the city council, and the police force, blacks and whites were racially segregated. The pattern of racial exclusiveness prevailed in Nashville’s schools and public facilities, including rest rooms, waiting areas, snack counters, transportation terminals, libraries, theaters, hotels, restaurants, and neighborhoods. Jim Crowism pervaded all aspects of life in Nashville and throughout the South. In 4958, local black leaders founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference (NCLC), an affiliate of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. On March 26-28, 1958, NCLC members held a workshop on nonviolent tactics against segregation. Under the leadership of the
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