More than any other topic in social science, the study of social movements provides an opportunity to combine social theory with political action. Such study is a key to understanding the motivations, successes, and failures of thousands who aspire to high ideals of justice, but who sometimes aid in perpetuating inhumane political acts and systems. Building upon the past twenty years' developments in theory and research, Social Movements combines original theoretical and methodological approaches with penetrating analyses of contemporary movements from the sixties to the present.Anthony Oberschall argues that social movements are central to contemporary politics in both Western and Third World nations. They are not quaint stepchildren to public policy and social change that disappear as nations modernize. Collective action by the citizenry, spilling beyond the boundaries of routine politics is an integral part of the process of creative destruction that Joseph Schumpeter ascribed to modern capitalism and all dynamic, modern societies.Among the subjects that OberschaU examines in Social Movements are the Civil Rights movement, decline of the New Left, the feminist movement, the New Christian Right, the tobacco control movement, collective violence in U.S. industrial relations, and some comparative historical movements, including the Cultural Revolution in China, the abortive 1968 revolution in Czechoslovakia, political strife in postcolonial Africa, and the sixteenth-century European witch craze.In looking beyond the immediate political circumstances of these social movements, Oberschall points the way to achieving the next major task of social movement theory: a more satisfactory understanding of the dynamics and course of social movements and counter movements and a method of accounting for the outcomes of public controversies. Free of jargon and technical terminology, Social Movements is written for sociologists, political scientists, historians, professionals dea
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About the Author
Anthony Oberschall is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Social Conflict and Social Movements.