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UNIT-4 Global Social Movements Notes | Global Politics | BA Hons Pol.Sci SEM 4


  • Globalization signifies a fundamental shift in human existence, extending social action beyond nation-states.

  • Advancements in transportation and communication reduce the perception of distance, facilitating global interconnectedness.

  • Globalization presents challenges by limiting states' ability to address grievances, requiring movements to seek international partnerships.

  • However, it also provides opportunities for movements to exert influence beyond borders through international pressure.


The Historical Context

  • Definition of Social Movements: Networks of interactions engaged in political or cultural conflicts, sharing a collective identity.

  • Historical Neglect: Sociology and politics historically displayed a national bias, overlooking the impact of social movements on global change.

  • Impact of Globalization: Emergence of social movements in the late 20th century coincided with globalization, marked by economic interdependence and technological advancements.

  • Examples of Movements: Anti-globalization, environmental, women’s, and peace movements leverage global networks.

  • Local and Global Interplay: Highlight the interconnectedness of local and global issues.

Theoretical Framework

  • Pragmatic Perspective: Emphasizes formal organization and state-non-state interaction, viewing globalization as embedding states in cooperative networks.

  • Structuralist Perspective: Emphasizes large-scale trends shaped by deep social structures.

  • Transformationalist Perspective: Emphasizes the emancipatory potential of global social movements.

  • Action at a Distance: Characterizes globalization as “action at a distance,” showing how actors in one location can influence events elsewhere.

  • Transnational Public Sphere: Represents a communicative landscape surpassing national boundaries, discussing global issues.

Key Issues

  • Relationship Between Global and Local: Diverse interpretations of globalization, concept of "glocalization."

  • Instrumental and Expressive Dimensions: Using specific strategies to achieve goals vs. shaping norms and identities.

  • Democratic and Oligarchic Dynamics: Risk of movements becoming controlled by a few, need for democratic revival.

  • Proposed Solutions: Network-centric understanding, multidimensional analysis of globalization, balancing instrumental and expressive strategies, mitigating oligarchic tendencies.

Anti-Globalization Social Movements

  • Overview: Diverse mix of groups critiquing negative impacts of globalization.

  • Ideas and Causes: Advocacy for labor rights, environmental protection, gender equity, and freedom of movement.

  • Communication and Impact: Use of social media to coordinate actions and raise awareness globally.

  • Criticism and Challenges: Lack of diversity and inclusivity, criticisms for being dominated by certain perspectives.

Impactful Movements

  • Zapatista Movement: Symbol of resistance against globalization's negative impacts, advocating for indigenous rights and social justice.

  • Reclaim the Streets (RTS): Aims to reclaim urban spaces from cars, influencing urban planning and environmental sustainability.

  • Women's Movements: One Billion Rising campaign addressing gender-based violence and advocating for women's rights globally.

Digitalization and Globalization

  • Intersection of digitalization and globalization facilitates rapid exchange of information and ideas.

  • Digital platforms enable formation of transnational alliances and sharing of experiences among activists worldwide.

  • Challenges such as privacy concerns and the digital divide can exclude segments of society from fully participating in globalized movements.


  • Researchers must delve into transnational processes driving diverse movements to understand contemporary activism fully.

  • Informal movement networks play a pivotal role in shaping the agenda, coordination, and mobilization of social movements globally.

  • Understanding these dynamics is crucial as they facilitate the exchange of ideas, resources, and strategies among activists worldwide.

  • The rise of transnational movements indicates increasing influence in the twenty-first century, exemplified by climate justice advocacy leveraging digital tools.


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