“Do protests and social movements matter? Do they really bring about change?” asks CURS Faculty Fellow Kenneth “Andy” Andrews, professor and chair of sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the October 21, 2017 New York Times Sunday Review.
“Answering this question is tricky. It’s not obvious, for example, how much the recent shift to the right in American politics reflects the efforts of the Tea Party movement and how much it reflects deeper developments such as increasing racial hostility and negative reactions to globalization. Sometimes a movement matters far less than the social, economic and political forces that give rise to the movement itself.
When social scientists do uncover evidence of a movement’s influence, we have tended to focus on three main pathways by which movements gain power: cultural, disruptive and organizational. On its own, each pathway turns out to be limited in its effect. But movements that have managed to combine all three, such as the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s, have had lasting impact.”
Read the full article on the New York Times website here.