Social Movements Sample Essay

Social Movements Sample Essay.

Social Movements Sample Essay

                           Category: Sociology

Project 2 meets the following course outcomes:

  • apply the sociological imagination, theoretical perspectives, and scientific research to uncover patterns of social behavior.
  • explain how the process of socialization and group membership shapes individual human behavior.
  • identify the different ways society is stratified and develop awareness of how inequality is perpetuated in society.
  • describe the process of social change and its impact on the individual and society.

In addition to the Week 7 Learning Resources :…

please review the following website for more information about social movements:

Requirements: Select any type of collective action (e.g., riots, panics) or social movement (e.g., civil rights, animal rights, environmental justice, etc.) of interest to you. Prepare a 3 to the 4-page description of the collective action or social movement, and also provide a sociological explanation of your selected action or movement. In your paper, include and underline ten or more sociological terms, theories, and/or research that you think apply, and explain how these apply. For example, conflict theorists would argue that societal change is inevitable, as people deal with inherent conflicts and contradictions. Conflict theorists do not see the status quo as the ultimate goal of social organization.

This assignment must be supported with at least one peer-reviewed scholarly journal article (no more than five years old).

Here are some characteristics of peer-reviewed journal articles:

  • The author is a scholar or researcher in the field
  • The author cites his or her sources in footnotes or a bibliography
  • The journal is published or sponsored by a professional organization (such as the American Medical Association or American Bar Association)
  • The journal is published by an academic institution (such as the University of Maryland) or research institution (such as the National Institutes of Health)
  • There is very little, if any, advertising
  • The title contains the words Journal, Quarterly, or Review

Please keep in mind that sources that end in .com such as Wikipedia,, etc. are not credible sources. For more information on how to locate and evaluate credible sources see:

Please see attached rubric as well.

Social Movements

Student Name

Institutional Affiliation

Mothers against Drunk driving is an organization in America, Canada, and Brazil that advocates against drunk driving.  The primary mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is to end drugged driving to prevent the deaths and injuries that occur due to drugged driving (MADD, 2021). MADD can be described as a social movement as it is a group of purposeful individuals striving to work towards the common goal of ending drunk driving across America.  However, there are various types of social Movements. Social movements are categorized based on their purpose and their organization (“21.3 social movements – Sociology,” 2016). MADD best fits the description of a reform movement. A reform movement is primarily a movement that seeks little but significant change in various aspects of a country’s economic, political or social system (“21.3 social movements – Sociology,” 2016). By trying to create a society in which no individuals engage in drunk driving, MADD attempts to reform America’s social structure. MADD is a social movement that attempts to change the social structure by encouraging individuals not to engage in drunk driving.

Various sociological theories and terms can be used to describe the actions and organization of MADD. One of the sociological terms that can accurately describe the origin and purpose of MADD is relative deprivation.  Relative derivation describes the feeling of discontent most individuals in social movements experience, thus resulting in their participation in the movement (“21.3 social movements – Sociology,” 2016). Shared discontent over a particular issue plays a significant role in the formation of social movements. Similarly, the founders of MADD had feelings of shared discontent over the numerous deaths and injuries that resulted from drunk drivers (MADD, 2021). In the realization of their shared discontent, the founders decided to form MADD as a platform to assist victims of drunk driving and discourage drivers from engaging in driving under the influence of drugs.  However, unlike in the relative deprivation theory, where the shared grievances often lead to protests, the frustration among the founders of MADD resulted in the formation of the social movement.

Theories of Collective Action

 Social movements are a result of collective actions. Therefore, by analyzing the various theories of collective action, one can assess the behavior of the social movements.  One of the theories of collective action which explains the behavior of social movement is the contagion theory.  The contagion theory proposes that the individuals in a group lose their rationality and are hypnotized under the influence of the crowd (“21.2 explaining collective behavior – Sociology,” 2016). Therefore, individuals in social movements tend to act irrationally and emotionally under the influence of the crowd, unlike how they would act on their own.  While the theory can explain part of the formation of MADD, it is not entirely accurate in describing the course of action within the development of MADD. A gathering of families who were acting from the emotions of having lost various family members and relatives to drunk driving incidents (Griffin, 2019).  However, despite the high levels of emotions, the group did not act irrationally. In contrast, they made a rational decision that would help assist several victims of drunk driving incidents.

Another theory that might more accurately explain the organization of MADD is the convergence theory. The convergence theory assumes that a crowd’s behavior reflects the beliefs and intentions of the individuals in the crowd before they were part of the crowd (Doerfel & Taylor, 2017). Therefore, the crowd is a total of the beliefs and intended behavior of the individuals in the crowd. Consequently, one can argue that every individual involved in the formation of MADD intended to assist victims of drunk drivers.  However, the Emergent Norm theory also argues that individuals are unsure how to behave when they first interact in collective behavior (Griffin, 2019). Although there is no documentation of the behavior of the founders of MADD during its formation, one can argue that the minimal number of projects they had is a result of the negotiation process as the members discussed their potential collective behavior under MADD.

Another collective behavior theory that can explain the behavior of individuals in AMDD is the Value-added theory. The value-added theory assumes that collective behavior results when certain conditions are met. The conditions for collective behavior, in value-added theory, include structural strain, generalized belief, and lack of social control (“21.2 explaining collective behavior – Sociology,” 2016). All the conditions of the collective behavior are met in the formation of MADD. The structural strain resulting from the collective behavior was the government’s inability to control drunk driving effectively. Another factor is the precipitating factor which was the death of  Cari, a 13-year-old killed by a drunk driver (MADD, 2021). The generalized belief in MADD is that collective action will lead to a better society with no drunk driving incidences and a reduction in cases of accidents and deaths due to drunk driving.  Since forming an organization that advocates against drunk driving are not illegal, the group also meets the fourth requirement of lack of social control.

Theoretical Perspectives of MADD

The concept of social imagination enables various scholars to understand various social concepts.  Sociological imagination refers to the ability of an individual to grasp the structural source of individual problems (“1.2 sociological perspectives on social problems – Social problems,” 2016). By relating a person’s problem to society, one can understand its structural source. It is through the sociological imagination that a group of mothers formed MADD. The mothers analyzed their problems of losing a loved one to a drunk driving incident and realized it resulted from a structural problem. Therefore, the mothers formed a collective group to reform the societal structures that enable drunk driving to occur regularly. 

 Various theoretical perspectives can assist sociologists in understanding the formation and organization of social movements such as MADD. One of the theoretical perspectives is Functionalism which argues that society is more likely to embrace slow social change than rapid social change (“1.2 sociological perspectives on social problems – Social problems,” 2016). The theory argues that rapid social change is likely to threaten the social order. From a functionalist perspective, MADD has been effective due to its slow process of changing societal norms. Another theory that can explain the organization of MADD is symbolic interactionalism. The theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism argues that social problems and perceptions of social problems arise from the interactions of individuals. The interactions of the individuals then shape their perception of social problems. Similarly, in MADD, the interactions between MADD founders significantly shaped their perception of the drunk driving problem. Consequently, the shared perception of the problem led to the formation of MADD.

In conclusion, some sociological concepts and theories can assist sociologists in understanding the functioning of a social movement. Some of the theories explain the collective behavior, while others describe the organization of the collective. The research determined that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) can be termed as a social movement from the various sociological concepts. Consequently, some of the theories that explain collective behavior can also apply in the analysis of the behavior of MADD. The theories include the convergence and emergent theory and the value-added theory. Various theoretical perspectives can also explain the functioning of MADD during its lifetime. Some of the theoretical perspectives include the functionalism theory and the symbolic interactionism theory. From an analysis of MADD using the various sociological concepts and theories, one can determine the organization’s functioning.


1.2 sociological perspectives on social problems – Social problems. (2016, March 25). Retrieved from

21.2 explaining collective behavior – Sociology. (2016, April 8). Retrieved from

21.3 social movements – Sociology. (2016, April 8). Retrieved from

Doerfel, M. L., & Taylor, M. (2017). The story of collective action: The emergence of ideological leaders, collective action network leaders, and cross-sector network partners in civil society. Journal of Communication67(6), 920-943. doi:10.1111/jcom.12340

Griffin, O. H. (2019). Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The Encyclopedia of Women and Crime, 1-4. doi:10.1002/9781118929803.ewac0363

MADD. (2021). Our story. Retrieved from

Browse more products here

Order Here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.