Technological advancements have gone beyond imagination. There was a time when people used to plan and travel for days to cross the seas, while now even going to the moon is a few steps process. Technological advancement has reached a point were the virtual world is a reality; we have the World Wide Web which is nothing less then a dream. World Wide Web commonly known as the internet is a medium through which we can experience situations which before were unbelievable like online banking or ecommerce.
It is a virtual world where knowledge of any nature is just a click away; u can share your experiences, your opinions and play an active part in discussions. Internet has played an active part even in the field of communication now online conferences, and sharing of feelings with loved ones is possible through internet with live video of the loved one. Hence we can say that internet has modernized the ways of living. It is an easy prediction that internet has effected human beings in every walk of life.
Either it is political, social, environmental or physical are just a few prominent examples. Internet has proven to be very helpful and very beneficial for human beings in every field. In the same way internet has many advantages over contemporary social movements. Social movements is a kind of agitation done by a group of common people against a social factor effecting, damaging or having negative impact on society. These people protest so that a social change or revolution can occur which would help in the development of society.
There have been many important social movements that have proved to have brought in a revolution amongst them some important ones were the Italian social movement (movimento sociale italiano), Feminist movement and Revitalization movement. Social Movement Theories There have been many social movement theories deduced by sociologists and scholars an example of such a sociologist can be Turner. These sociologists have described the emergence, struggle and achievement of a social movement from a sociological perspective.
They described the theory of collective behavior which concluded that movements were irrational, spontaneous which emerged from shared grievances and collective frustration. (Towards an emergence model of environment and society) According to most scholars this kind of theory has been replaced by a more practical theory of resource mobilization according to this theory collective grievance might generate a collective movement, resources are the most critical aspect for shaping those collective efforts into a social movement.
Resources include money and people with free time. Then there is the political process if the states not open to challenges the movement would be crushed. The theories have been changed in the contemporary world social movements in the 21st century are known as new social movements. According to this focus is to be upon developing shared attitudes about society or potential movement followers this is known as the mobilization. (Excerpta Medica)
Then there is the theory of self actualization according to which “social actors begins the process of identifying with the collective interests articulated through membership in a movement at the moment at which that movement extends a compelling attractive vision of the meaning of everyday life. ” Self actualization basically is motivating general people with the interest of a better society. (Emerging Theories of Human Communication) Advantages of Internet in Social Movements
Internet has affected our lives in positive and negative ways, but the advantages are so immense and unavoidable that usually we try to neglect the disadvantages. Same is the case with social movements, internet has proved to be so beneficial in the case of social movements, and some of the major benefits include, reduction in communication gap. Internet has introduced an important feature known as the computer mediated communication. The biggest advantage of CMC includes high speed and reduced costs of communication amongst distant activist participating in a social movement.
Through this feature the problem of distortion in a message has been negligible. While traditionally the message was vague as it was spread through word of mouth or through summaries by intermediaries. The other benefit is facility of interaction between branches or organization responsible for a social movement if we connect this benefit with the theory of mobilization we can easily transform sets of “geographically dispersed aggrieved individuals into densely connected aggrieved population” into having shared believes and thus developing potential followers.
Thus it helps in bringing together the people with same problem and suffering together so that they can establish a social movement which could lead to a social change. (Culture and Politics in the Information Age: a new politics? ) Then there are discussion groups which enables an activist to set a discussion between individuals interested in a specific issue, thus encouraging interaction. This benefit can also be analyzed in relation to mobilization which states that we need to develop shared attitudes in society. Through discussion groups we can share our opinion about a particular social issue.
Thus showing live example of the people suffering due to that issue we can change individual’s opinion and gradually can establish a group with shared attitudes. Electronic mail also improves the relation between an individual and an organization that is conducting a social movement. Electronic mail helps in making participants of social movements into potential followers. Due to regular interaction with organizations a strong bond is developed between the activist and his social movement thus making him faithful toward the movement.
Then there are Blogs which is a kind of a website developed by independent writers who update their Blog at regular intervals. These Blogs are created by social movement organizations that can make people aware of a social issue, the impact of a social issue on society and the possible ways to prevent societies from that issue. Thus Blogs help in changing the ideology of common people; it makes them sympathize with the current situation and attracts them towards becoming a part of social movement.
These people join movements just to improve the condition of society. Thus it can be evaluated that Blogs fulfill the theory of self accumulation. (Blogs) Examples of 21st century Social Movements The most important event of the 21st century is the war in Iraq. United States of America attacked Iraq on March 19, 2003; the reason for the attack was that America thought Iraq possessed mass destruction weapons. The war was a shocking event for the people all around the globe and hence due to mass killing of innocent people of Iraq social movement started to develop.
The social movement that emerged against the war in Iraq started even before the actual war took place. This movement was not supported only by the citizens of Iraq but it is global protest against the war in Iraq. An example of this global social movement can be taken from the fact that unto ten million people stood up and marched on streets holding banners against the wars. Amongst which 1 million people walked on London streets being the largest demonstration of the country.
The reason for the coordination of millions of people marching on the same day on the same day against the war is possibly media and internet. “Anti war groups were able to mobilize supporters from a range of different backgrounds through e-mails and announcements on websites” (Sociology). The major reason given by demonstrators to join the social movement are that war would make countries specially Britain and America more prone to terrorist attacks an example of which can be the attack on Londoners on 7 July 2005.
Thus this reason supports the theory of self actualization according to which people became members of the movement just to have a safe and secure society. (Sociology) the other reason was that many countries has faced the sufferings of war and thus the people of such countries like, Afghanistan did not want Iraq and the world as a whole to face the consequences of the war. Hence this example supports the theory of mobilization that how through internet people who had experience similar grievance can be into brought together to support a social movement.
Another example of a movement which can support the idea of how internet benefits social movements in relation to theories is democracy social movement. This social movement demanded a democratic society which started in 1989 but have gained importance in 21st century as it has become global. People of different nations like Europe and china are fighting for a democratic country from the past several years but these movements for democracy were crushed by governments and politicians.
With increasing globalization people all around the globe have realized the problems of capitalism and have thus joined the democracy movement. Internet has spread awareness of the disadvantages of capitalism and it has also supported its argument with examples of how capitalism and politicians for personal benefits are damaging society. There have been logs created, chat groups maintained to spread the ideology of the need of a democratic world; thus, supporting the theory of mobilization, self accutualiztion and collective efforts.
(The American Journal of Sociology) It is a fact that due to collective efforts democracy movement has started to achieve their goal of having a democratic world. They have been able to transform a shared believe by transmitting the facts about capitalism thus creating a mobilize group. It has even been able to support the theory of self actualization as the movement has been joined by individuals who have no personal benefits but want to fight for collective remuneration.
The Democracy Movement is a non-party campaign to defend liberal democracy this movement emerged in Britain and across Europe but now have became global traces of this movement can be found in Venezuela, Siberia. (democracy movements) Conclusion Thus it can be evaluated that internet has played an important role in changing the structure of social movements. This would be the simplest way to explain the difference from traditional to contemporary social movements, is that internet has lead social movements to globalization.
Social movements are not confined to a particular state, country, religion or cast. It has become global people who either are affected by a social issue or not, they are participating in social movements just to make earth a better place to live. This even show that collective global efforts have made social movements is more successful now then they ever were in the past. Reason being that previously social movements comprised of a small group and thus attracted little attention.
Another reason is media that promotes activists campaigning against social issues. Last but not the least politicians traditionally politicians could easily crush any social issue which could challenge their political rule. While now as social movements have became global, internet has no boundaries and the right for freedom of speech has lead social movements to a position where no politician has the power to damage it.
Anthony Giddens, (n. d. ), Sociology Blogs http://www. itslifejimbutnotasweknowit. org. uk/lt_glossary. htm Accessed, May 24, 2007