This chapter starts with an introduction to a word that just like all the others we have discussed in this class has a much deeper meaning than what we have been taught. The authors define identity as a common idea or cultural characteristic. These characteristics could be anything from gender, race, religion, or even place. When I think of an identity unlike the books definition, I like to think that an identity is something that a person constructs over time and is something that also changes over time. The person that I was in high school is not the same person that I am now and that changes my identity.
This idea of an identity plays into the idea of a social movement. First, what is a social movement? Our author defines this as a group of people trying to reach some sort of goal through social or political politics. I was fortunate enough this past weekend to be apart of what I would consider a social movement and that was Dance Marathon. This event through the means of social ideas and practices sought to raise money and awareness for the Riley’s Children’s Hospital. This might not have been how Walter J. Nicholls sees a social movement as. He sees them as boycotts or protest. This can also be a form of social movement however in his examples it seems that violence is always necessary. Violence is never the answer. I am a man of the peace. The situation in the Ukraine now makes me sad that someone let it get to be that bad and so much hate and violence no is a result. The chapter then goes on to describe various movements such as “black power” and feminist movements. The basis behind a social movement is in a nut shell no matter what you do, someone is always going to get the short end of the stick and be unhappy. Movements are just ways for people to organize themselves to achieve a goal with more people.
The next part of the chapter goes on to describe two different movements. The first movement is the labor movement. With the growth of industry in the USA and things like work times and wages became a new thing, there was also the growth of unions. A collective group of workers trying to get better wages, better shifts, and so on. Early on these unions were very localized to maybe a single town, now they have grown into transnational organizations that in some countries are good and some bad. Unions are always a political issue during elections and more often then not the union will tend to side with the democratic party in favor of tax breaks and more jobs. The second movement the book describes in the feminist movement. Throughout history women have struggled to find the same rights an privileges as those that many men now have. Even today women are still in some cased treated as second class to men, where as in our history we have never had a female president or vice president. Gender roles have always been in question. Since the beginning of the first settlements there have always been gender roles. Men hunted, and the women tended to the crops and the children. The struggle for equality is not over and until there is a drastic change in human though and belief it never will change.
From Martin Luther King Jr. to Gandhi humans have and always will seek perfect equality among others. Some protest resulted in violence, others with non. Above all else these social movements are a result of the identities of people and the common goals of others.