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Social movement and social change: towards a conceptual clarification and

theoretical framework
Parth Nanth Mukherji
In this article writer tries to focus on social movement and social change through
mobilizations to theoretical framework.
According to him, to form sociological problem one should starts it from with basic grounds
and arrives at theoretical framework. It helps to understand empirical reality. The basic
grounds for study of social movements and social change are as follows
1) Social movements are necessary for social change therefore social change but it is not
indispensable condition for social change
2) It is a product of social structure.
3) It impacts on social structure.
Therefore, social movement is agent of change with its target on which it operates. Until
these both aspects are welded into single theoretical framework the study of social movement
is incomplete.
For General understanding of social movement give emphasis on its ideology, evolution
structure of the movement and its progression and regression. But one hardly analysis of the
causes of its emergence and the consequences for the target(s) on which it operates. It is
required for the theoretical and comprehensive empirical study of social movement.
To study the phenomenon of Social Movement, it is important to know the mobilization.
Mobilization generally refers to situation where affected group brought in to action. It is
opposite of apathy and inaction. Mobilization also includes the process to provoke the people
to prepare for collective action for the cause against the decision of ruling class. It is
important to distinguish between the collective mobilization that qualify to be conceptualized
as Social Movements and those which do not. To explain this author has given some
situations. On basis of that situation he categorised it in to three classes
First category is normal corporate activity. Under this category such a collective
mobilization took place which is not directed against any group. So this Corporate, routinized
formal, institutional articulations of collective behaviour does not constitute as a social
Where as in second class when the existing structures in a society show certain
inconsistencies with reference to certain achievement and certain goals or when the goals
themselves are inconsistent to fulfilled the needs of constituents of the system, collective
mobilization may take place in response to general discontent. The legitimate existence and
role of interest and pressure groups and other voluntary organizations fall in this domain.
Third is self evident, it means if system is unable to satisfy people, then collective
mobilization took place for structural transformation. Collective mobilization may emerge
either to promote the groups or they may seek to alter the system.
This change in system can be distinguished in terms of whether it is accumulative, alternative
or transformative.

Accumulative: this change occurs within system Eg. Enlargement of public sector in India.
Alternative: it is of creation of additional structure or displacement of existing one without
any replacement eg. Abolition of Satee
Transformative: it is entirely change of structure by replacement or successive replacement.
Eg. Sarvodaya Gramdan Movement.
When one arrive at consistent concept of social movement it become useful to examine its
historicity and two great variance
Earlier meaning of social movement was confined with only new working class. Keeping
this changed context in view of Herbele Propses that, it is distinguished between limited
goal which never attract more than small groups of people and those which aiming at
comprehensive and fundamental changes in the social order, becomes true mass movements
of historical significance1 . The central concern in the study of movements is to examine the
relationship between change and the social conflict its analysis. While studying this one
should not overlook the cultural and structural aspects of society and the operation of a
movement in a given context.
In developed countries, people demand for change through the institutional means and be
able to effect the intended change over a period of time. Such a change may not constitute an
alternation and transformation of the system. Eg. Negro movement in USA. In less developed
for similar change there may need for structural change and therefore there will be large
opposition. However such change cannot be possible without radical change Eg. Mao tse
tungs guerrilla warfare.
From above situation one may differentiate between a social movement, revolution and quasi
Revolution subsumes social movements and quasi movements. A social movement includes
quasi movements. To achieve goal every movement requires the goal and organised structure.
Movements use institutional means as well as non institutional means.
Quasi movement is the first stage of collective mobilization. It operates through specific
purpose for change within system. If Conflict occurs over specific issues people of existing
group mobilize through legitimate institutional structure and able to pressurise the system it
describes the behaviour of quasi movement. Social movement is Second stage of
mobilization. There is only structural difference between QM and SM.
Revolution is the Last stage. It seeks to Change the entire system. Eg. Mao strategy
The difference between three of them also measure through scale but scale is not only
quantitative but commitment of its participating members
After studying these three types of collective mobilization (quasi, social revolutionary) as
well as conceptual framework for an analysis of movements and broad theoretical canvas.
One can clarify some confusion on studies related to social and revolutionary movements.

End note:

Partha nath mukharjee, Social movement and social change: towards a conceptual
clarification and theoretical framework, Sociological bulletin, vol. 26, no.1 (1977),pp.44.
Mukharjee,Partha Nath, Social movement and social change: towards a conceptual
clarification and theoretical framework, Sociological bulletin, vol. 26, no.1 (1977),pp.38-59.

- Punam kavade.