On the Transformation of Social Movements: An Analysis From the East-West Axis

On the Transformation of Social Movements: An Analysis From the East-West Axis

Cemile Zehra Zehra Köroğlu, Muhammet Ali Köroğlu
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5023-5.ch003
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As social entities, people could come together and create regular relations and institutions. Concepts such as group, community, society, social movement, etc. are about the social dimension of man. However, according to the conditions of the social, political, religious, and physical environment in which the person lives, their needs and problems can change. As a natural consequence of this, social characteristics of social movements can change. It is inevitable to value new social movements in this respect. Because new social movements in the West are born from a critical intellectual atmosphere against modernity. This situation has developed in an economic system based on the service sector rather than economic-order-based on heavy industry. On the other hand, the Eastern world, especially the Islamic world, has a repertoire of social movements that brings different problems to the agenda because it has different conditions. In this respect, new observations and analyses of Turkey and its surrounding will provide important contributions to the theory of social movements.
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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. This is an inevitable end when assessed in terms of Maslow's analysis. Maslow puts the need for security to the second row of the basic hierarchy of needs. Individuals and groups who can not meet basic human needs such as life, property, and self-expression can be easily militarized. 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 is known, Thomas Hobbes who tries to solve social chaos during these periods, has suggested that social chaos can only be resolved with a stronger and irresponsible state. Today, the same thing is suggested for the Islamic communities. This pushes even the most innocent social movement towards terrorism.

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. Very recently, it was declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government and some neighboring countries. 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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