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. Touraine, for one, who sees NSMs as looking towards the cultural aspect of people and Inglehart who believes that identity is at the forefront of the NSMs agenda. Aside from these two, the sociologist who I agree with most is Crooke, who views the change to ‘new politics’ and the decline of political parties as crucial to the rise of NSMs. This is supported by the change in the political voting, where people are no longer voting along class lines. These class lines in today’s society have been much distorted; most people are now middle class, whether it is poor or wealthy middle. It is now hard to put your finger on what is actually working class. The failure of the parties has led to the people with less power to believe they can now have a say in society. This total change of ‘new politics’, where sectional and class interests have declined, making a new access for the emergence of NSMs to become a vital stepping stone in society, such as Earth First.