The term Social Movements can be described as a group actions by a group of people or group of Organizations to bring or resist a Social Change. It’s a movement of large group of individuals or organizations that are grouped together to resist or undo a social change or event.
The Characteristic of the Social Movements are based on the mixed characteristics of organizations and the spontaneity nature. The participants of the Social Movements coming spontaneously to the movements and their relationships are not defined by the proper rules and regulations or procedures. There share a common outlook and a common goal on society. The behaviors of the members reflect the belief or faith of the participants who work together and dedicate themselves to prevent or bring a social change.
If we analyze the Key Processes of the history of Social Movements, we can understand that the Urbanization is the main key process which facilitated the social interaction of the common people and the early Social movements appeared on the urban areas. Mass Education Process of the Universities created Social Movements in earlier Stages. Functions of the Social Movements were become easier through the advancement in communication technologies like Computers, Internet and News papers and the wide spread of democracy and knowledge of political rights made the operations of the Social Movements an easier one.
Social Movements have their own life cycle. They have the stages like creation, growth and their existence or extinction based on success or failure. The birth or creation of a Social Movement needs an initiating event through which chain reactions of events will begin and they lead to the creation of a new Social Movement. In the next stage, the movement has to justify its important to the people and convinces people to join it. Normally a Social Movement has two Phases. In the first phase the movement focuses on gathering people who are deeply interested in a specific Social change. The Second phase comes after the Success or failure of the Movement.
Sociologists have Social Movement Theories like Relative Deprivation Theory on people who feel deprived of goods or services, Marxist Theory of Social Changes, Mass Society Theory on socially detached individual of large societies, Resource Mobilization theory on the important resources of Social Movements, Political Process theory, Culture Theory and so on.
Finally, if we analyze the consequences of the Social Movements they have their major positive or negative impact on the participants of the Social Movements, the people or on the society. The participants of the Social Movements are psychologically reorganized. The final results or end products of Social Movements may change the entire social order either positively or negatively. A successful movement can bring a new change to the society and these movements can be transformed into associations like American Labor Movement and Congress Part of India which was a Freedom Movement against British rule.