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New Social Movements Article Reviews

New Social Movements: A Critical Review

Nelson A. Pichardo wrote an article, ” New Social Movements: A Critical Review,” in the Annual Review of Sociology in 1997. In the article, the author sheds light on the history of various social movements and their important dynamics. Moreover, he has explained his points with various historical events. Many social movements have contributed to the general public’s awareness of social issues; however, not all aspects of such movements were positive.

Social structure affects social movements. The redistribution of wealth and the unrest in the middle class have remained critical factors of many new social movements (NSM). According to Marxist logic, the working class plays an important role in NSMs. The notable examples of NSMs include wide-scale student protests in France and Germany in 1968 and Italy in 1968 (Pichardo, 1997). The post-industrialization era fueled many NSMs globally; moreover, flaws in democracies were another catalyst inducing masses to rise for their legitimate rights. Their underlying ideologies mainly dictated the strategies and tactics of NSMs. Some social movements influenced departments and organizations in countries. Some NSMs preferred to replicate the structure they envision for the government of their nations.

In my opinion, the author has covered the important points of the topic in a limited space. He is an expert in sociology; therefore, he has mentioned many historical, and social movements, especially in recent history. He has rightly elaborated on the underlying causes of NSMs, including political, monetary, and social reasons, and I have learned many new things from it.

Pichardo has done a good job of shedding light on the underlying causes of NSMs. Usually, social movements start from a micro level due to political, social, and economic reasons. With time other segments of society become part of this movement, and its impacts become far-reaching.

Cycles of Collective Action: Between Moments of Madness and the Repertoire of Contention

Sidney Tarrow wrote an article, ” Cycles of Collective Action: Between Moments of Madness and the Repertoire of Contention,” in Social Science History in 1993. In the article, the author describes the history of some social agitations and civil unrest. Besides, he has explained his views on the element of insanity in such movements. Many civil unrests have resulted in chaos in states; however, not all the aspects of such movements were counterproductive.

Cycles of protests have many underlying causes. The scarcity of resources and political rights deprivation has been one of the most important social unrest factors. According to a school of thought, protests do not occur in regular cycles, which means they are hard to predict. The notable reasons for mass protests include unresolved conflicts in nations (Tarrow, 1997). In France, since the 1890s, mass protests have coincided with large-scale violence. The possible reasons include the general public’s rise, especially the underprivileged segments for their legitimate civil liberties. Geographical disputes also give rise to mass unrest and protests. Sometimes some unpredictable events fuel civil unrest created by an already existing reason. An interesting coexisting element of civil unrest in Italy between 1966 and 1973 was the madness of violence and the sanity of peaceful marches and gatherings. Social unrest might lead to violent events in otherwise peaceful movements to get legitimate rights.

According to my view, the author has described many important elements of social unrest; moreover, he has emphasized his points with historical examples. He is right in his assertion that a moment of madness might significantly impact an overall peaceful campaign. I concur with him that new leadership might emerge from mass movements.

Tarrow has written an impressive paper that sheds light on the fundamental bases of mass unrest. Usually, such movements start from a sense of political, social, and economic deprivation. Apart from other things, such events increase the political awareness of the general public.


Pichardo, N. A. (1997). New social movements: A critical review. Annual Review of Sociology23(1), 411-430.

Tarrow, S. (1993). Cycles of collective action: Between moments of madness and the repertoire of contention. Social Science History17(2), 281-307.



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