When a large group of people has a common idea or problem, they may organize a movement to express their corporate issue and demand change. A social movement can be defined as “purposeful, organized groups that strive to work toward a common social goal” (OpenStax, 2015, p. 480). It has a close association with social change because the primary aim of any movement is to alter the current situation related to a particular question. Thus, social movements can be classified as reform, revolutionary, religious, alternative, and resistance types (OpenStax, 2015). For example, through the collective effort via social media and cell phone donations, Americans were able to raise more than $3 million for Haitians after the 2010 earthquake (OpenStax, 2015). It all became possible due to technological advancements and innovations. In fact, social change in the post-millennial era is primarily driven by technology and, specifically, by the Internet (OpenStax, 2015). Indeed, various online platforms and social media channels enable the spreading of information faster to a more significant number of individuals. The invention of the altered Internet activism, allowing people to create new movements and change without going to the streets.
Social movements are created because several preceding factors trigger people to want change. Value-added theory, which is a functionalist perspective, states that “several conditions must be in place for collective behavior to occur” (OpenStax, 2015, p. 480). These five conditions are structural conduciveness, strain, generalized belief spread, precipitating factors, and mobilization for action (OpenStax, 2015). One of the movements where the value-added theory can be applied is Black Lives Matter (BLM). Indeed, all five conditions existed in American society before the burst of anti-racist protests within the country and worldwide under the BLM slogan in 2020 (O’Malley, 2020). Firstly, African Americans were hyperaware of police brutality and discrimination against black people. Secondly, the strain was created by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police officers. Thirdly, this information and social anger quickly spread among the citizens via the Internet (O’Malley, 2020). Fourthly, the precipitating factor was President Trump’s uncompassionate tweet about this situation. Lastly, thousands of people in several states went to the streets to protest against institutional racism.
O’Malley, K. (2020). How Black Lives Matter protests have changed the world a month after George Floyd’s death. Elle.
OpenStax. (2015). Introduction to sociology (2nd ed.). OpenStax.