Two Faces of the Reality: New Social Movements

Two Faces of the Reality: New Social Movements

Cemile Zehra Köroğlu (Social Work Department, Uşak University, Uşak, Turkey) and Muhammet Ali Köroğlu (Social Work Department, Uşak University, Uşak, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJACDT.2016010102


Human has constituted societies, and create language and culture as vital institutions, because it is a social being. In spite of individual differences, created common values and institutions become possible through the collective action to meet the needs of human. Social movements and new social movements should also be evaluated from this perspective. When considered social movements as an attempt to meet the needs of the community and solve the problems, one can say that they have existed in every period of the history. Today, the social movements that emerged especially after the 1960s are called new social movements because they are expressions of different problems and needs. This conceptualization is especially true for the Western world. Today, the social movements emerging especially in the Islamic world and East have some similarities and differences. In terms of following these similarities and differences, Turkey is an important example.
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When community and social life are taken as a basis, it cannot be said that any society is entirely stable, closed to changes and differences at no time in history. Contrarily, in all societies from the most primitive to the most modern ones, social differences, rebelling to its location, struggling for changing its position and themes like change have been taken into consideration. This emerged as in the form of transformation of discontent, oppression, marginalization into rebellion or a philosophy of one’s own life and meaning the world into action socially and massively. From this perspective, it is possible to claim that many social movements have appeared with a variety of purposes and principles in all periods of history. Sometimes economic conditions and sometimes religious, cultural and political conditions have become the driving force of a social movement. Although, sciences, such as politics and sociology allow us to analyze the conceptual meaning of social movements, these sciences often are put forward by the modern era. As a result, most social movements that have been analyzed stem from the modern period. Here, especially, social movements which emerged in Western societies after the 18th century have been taken into account. However, no matter how different the reason, principles, objectives of a social movement; no society is isolated from social movement, demand and change.

Turkey, compared to other Islamic countries around it, has a political system that has given the opportunity to many different social movements to come into the public sphere and struggle there. In contrast, it is not possible to mention a fully political public sphere in other Islamic countries. There is no political area between the state and society. Therefore, emerging social movements have transformed into either rigid political movements targeting to seize the state or movements supporting to the state and having no originality. This structure produces militarism, even terrorism rather than the social movements in the contemporary sense. It is possible to see many examples of this situation in the Islamic world over the last decade. In countries such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, many groups have emerged against the traditional authoritarian regimes, and all of them have been trying to establish the relationship between state and society by arming. This feeds the chaos and terrorism. This image recalls thirty years wars in the West.

As a typical example of this analysis can be viewed in the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt. Today, Muslim Brotherhood which is the one of the most important social movements of the world is a rooted movement founded in 1928. Since its inception has survived under a severe state repression, and despite this, it was able to create alternative religious, cultural and economic institutions (Davis, Robinson 2015, pp. 80). This movement transformed into a political party, and came to power a short time ago, but it was removed from government through a coup. It has been forced to confront the state violence immediately after this. Naturally, it is not possible the emergence of new social movements in such a society and state equation. Because, in a society where is lack of basic human rights and political rights as the most sacred rights of our civilization; feminists, environmentalists, anti-nuclear and so on. Movements are not to be expected.

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