Tag Archives: failure

Failed Movements and Movement Failures

By Rachel L. Einwohner

In my “Sociology of Protest” class, when we get to the section of the course that addresses social movement outcomes I always start off with a brief exercise. I put the following on the board: “A successful movement is one that ________________________” and then ask the students to complete the sentence. The students always come up with excellent responses and typically identify a variety of ways in which movements can be successful, including achieving lasting social change and increasing awareness of a particular cause or issue. We then use these responses to think about ways of operationalizing movement success, and move into a lecture and discussion of Gamson’s (1990) classic treatment of movement success in terms of acceptance and new advantages. Continue reading

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Essay Dialogues, Social Movement Failure

Failure Is Not an Option

By Edwin Amenta

Asking why social movements fail is a little like asking why children do not have backyards full of ponies. Most social movements fail most of the time because they embody a recipe for failure: they combine ambitious goals with severe power deficits. In U.S. history alone, think about the communist, nativist, gun control, anti-alcohol, and prison-reform movements—failure, failure, failure, failure, and failure. With global warming continuing unchecked, a good case could be made, too, for the environmental movement as a failure. Even movements widely considered the most influential of the twentieth century—the labor, African-American civil rights, and feminist movements—have been so only partially or intermittently. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, Social Movement Failure