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Outline and asses the view that new social movements express cultural values rather than economic interets

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline and Assess The View That New Social Movements Express Cultural Values Rather Than Economic Interests ________________ Over the years, there has been much debate between sociologists as to the explanations of political actions of New Social Movements. The idea that NSMs have benefited from the recent failure of political parties to respond to the less powerful groups is just one idea mentioned as to the growth of NSMs. Hallsworth defined New Social Movements as "developed to refer to a wide spectrum of non-institutionalised political movements which emerged and then re-emerged in western societies in the 60?s-70". The NSM view is more focused on the cultural nature of the movements and sees them as struggles for a foothold for control over the production of meaning and the constitution of new collective identities. This approach also highlights discontinuity by showing differences between new movements and traditional collective actors. NSMs are focused on identity, with many sociologists stating their claim to NSMs. ...read more.

Middle

The emphasis on autonomy and private life shows the influence of liberalism on these movements which can allow for direct action as a means of achieving some form of acceptance or change. It is clear that in the majority of social movements people engage in political protest and direct action to change the world in ways in which fit their notion of a better or ideal society. Scott argues that NSMs are best seen as part of a continuum that stretches from informal network associations to formal party-like organizations, and on this basis it is possible to analyze class-based movements in terms of activity and identity. Equally, given the greater interest and emphasis in subjectivity and identity in political sociology, there has been a shift in class analysis from merely assigning someone to a class to instead considering the subjective identity involved with the notion of class. According to Beck?s idea of the risk society, it is also useful to note that class based social movements have always been prominent in the ?strive? to avoid the problems created by capitalist production for the individual. ...read more.

Conclusion

The major struggle in these societies is over the control of information and lifestyle. Also, Melucci (1989) argues that movements have no meaning outside of the perceptions of those involved. ?Collective action is focused on cultural codes, the form of the movement is itself a message, a symbolic challenge to the dominant codes?, and therefore orginisation of such movements is a goal in itself, particulary in that they are able to use the struggle over information technology and lifestyle to meet their own ends. To conclude, NSMs engage politically with issues with implications for all of society, not necessarily for people of a certain class. However, even if we dismiss the idea that class is ?dead?, there is a certain link between the protest potential of NSMs restating positive identities and the economic interests of memebers and government. Perhaps NSMs are hybrid movements involving not only identity and cultural values but also economic interests. Saying this, there are no homogenous social movements ? each involve interests which affect all members, and these interests are cultural, economic, identity and political in nature. ...read more.

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