Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Donatella della Porta
In a comprehensive sense, the concept of social movement refers to (a) mostly informal networks of interaction, based on (b) shared beliefs and solidarity, mobilized around (c) contentious themes, through (d) the frequent use of various forms of protest. This entry begins with a discussion of the elements of this definition. Next, specific forms of (nonconventional) participation, mobilization, and organization of social movements are identified. Their impact in recent decades on political systems, democratization, public policies, and even the international sphere is then highlighted. Finally, the consequences for normative political theory and deliberative or direct forms of democracy are discussed. Social movements are constituted by networks of informal relations between a plurality of individuals and groups, which are more or less structured from an organizational point of view. While political parties and pressure groups have relatively well-defined organizational boundaries, such as card-carrying members of specific organizations, social movements are These ...