What are Social Movements?

by NIcholas Hildyard

first published 5 November 2016

Historically, social change (and resistance to such change) has always been associated with forms of challenge that go beyond individuals. It involves a coming together around a particular view of how the world should be, around what comes to be seen as the “good society”, a shared understanding arrived at through political and social contestation.

These moments in history, however, are never completely settled: how could the question “What is a good society?” ever be settled? Such moments build upon each other, reacting to what has gone before.

It is in these processes and in the political spaces they create that one can find “movements”.