Tuesday, June 17, 2003

for sociological geeks III

wow, are you all getting this? damn, somebody hold me back! where is that publisher when i need one???? oh, wait, that is what this is for...

"I think one of the downsides to a "movement" is the seeming lack of awareness that at some point the movement has to end, i.e., it if is truly successful, then society will have been transformed. With that in mind, that is what we ultimately needed -- social transformation. I think that we limit ourselves when we think that only a movement can do this.

Subsequently, one should not expect the movement to be the panacea for social change. College students and others in the movement should recognize that what they want to see is NOT the success or failure of people protesting, but the extent to which fundamental social processes are different/better/etc. As such, I think it is na?�ve to think that a movement alone is going to change social institutions.

The Levi corporation figured out a way to nicely profit from the "hippie uniform" as my dad used to call it. Not only did they make a tidy sum, but they managed to "mainstream" the movement, thus effectively diffusing it. In the end, some things are different, but the fundamental institutions of our society have really not changed. It is these institutions that drive the social ills.

So, what we need is not a movement, but a societal transformation. What we need is institutional change. Unfortunately, it seems as if all of our attempts to do this are "institutionalized attempts" and are thus subject to failure because they make use of existing institutions in their strategies. I think that one of the fascinating things about institutions is their unequaled ability to absorb and usurp change -- the do it so well, that fundamental change never really occurs."

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