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CulturalResources (Framing,Identity, and Ideology)In Social Movements

Culturalresources can be referred as the joint/collective evidence that isobtained from the past accomplishments and activities that wereassumed by people. These cultural resources entail different aspectssuch as structures, and places, as well as identity, framing, andideology where altogether plays part in the making of the culturalaspects and in turn influencing social movements (Husu 266). On theother hand, social movements are group actions ofindividuals/organizations that are driven by one social or politicalissue. Social movements are usually influenced to a large extent bycultural resources that include identity, ideology and framing.Cultural resources are commonly identified as the tools thatmovements exercise in their fight or efforts towards a desired socialtransformation. This paper will examine the impact of three culturalresources in shaping social movements.

Asystem of ideas is referred to as ideologyand every social movement is primarily an ideology. There are threelevels of ideological analysis that social movement researchers haveidentified as important in making sure that social movements arestrong and fit. Every social movement that may be seeking absolutechange needs an ideology in order to grow and shape its intendedfunctions. For instance, if a social group targets the liberation ofwomen, then it has to have an ideology or the ideas that are to actas driving objectives towards the intended goals. This is the visionor the ideas and ideals which will be the basis that the socialmovement will be based on and it will be the one that the memberswill fight for. This is the one that will be used in organizingpeople to join the fight. It can be said that, it is the element ofideology that ties the undertaking together towards a shared course. Over time, there have been different social movements that have beenformed. Examples of such movements include the gay and lesbian rightsmovements not only in the United States (US) but also across theglobe (Fetner414).

Despitethe opposition that they experience from rival movements, theirideology of liberating them from harassment and victimization fromthe other members of the society has been the building block for suchsocial movements. With the idea of a collective objective being themain agenda, the members have kept the social establishmentsexpanding. Political and social movements can be said to favor theruling class itself, but can also be utilized by any political linkedgroups. This is the purpose as to why the majority of the leaders inthese movements end up in the political arena. This is due to thefact that, majority of the leaders sees their influence the publicpolicy and decision making as an aspect to become political leaders.One of the elements that contribute to the making of politicalleaders is their ability to influence the public through influencingtheir ideas. Movement leaders has the ability to influence otherthrough ideas, and this ability to influence others is one of theaspects of a political, hence the reason why movement leaders mostlyends in routine politics.

Framingis the concept of the way that social movements organize andrecognize authenticity. In most cases, framing can be noted as eithernegative or positive depending on the audience, as well as theinformation that is being presented. Framing is meant to change theperception of a person in order to make him or her see things in theway that the social movement leader or member wants. Frames createmembers and recruit them by using the vocabulary of motives in thesense that frames are used to generate ‘mobilizable’ attitudesamong movement members. The way a social movement frames a problemgoes a long way into making sure that the social movement has theability to recruit members or mobilize them towards a common course.Commitment of members depends on the connection that they have withthe problem at hand. This means that the commitment of every memberdepends on the way that the problem was framed by the leaders of thesocial movement. For any individual to fit in any social movement,he/she has to adopt the movement’s objectives, and support theirideology. For example, there is no way a person who is not gay willjoin a gay rights movement in fighting for the rights of gay peopleunless he is fully convinced that they are harassed and oppressedthrough victimization by the rest of the public (McAdam1220).This in turn means that any movement must be able to frame theirproblem in a way that will ensure that they are able to attract asmany people as they can in order to make an impact in achieving theirultimate objective. On the same note, a movement formed on the basisof fighting racism ought to form either ideology in the best waypossible for them to be successful in achieving their objective. Thisin turn can be done by coiling some of the disadvantages of racism inthe problem. This will give people a more complete reason to join themovement (Williams140).

Identitydeals with the way that social movements generate and sustaincommitment and cohesion between the members. It is the concept thatallows the members to claim membership of a social movement. It isonly after members identify with the reason for the formation of thesocial movement that cohesion and commitment within the socialmovement can be maintained into the future. For example, theChristian antigay movement depends on the identity of the memberswith Christianity, which leads to commitment into the future for themovement. There is little reason to believe that Christians canchange their stance on gay and lesbians, especially if their churchcommunity marks it as sinful, and it is through this identity thatthe group remains committed to the objective of dealing with thevoice of denying or/and the call to remain against the same-sexrelationships in the society (Williams128).

Socialmovements depend on these cultural resources in order to create abasis of a strong future. When it comes to recruitment of newmembers, the movement will largely depend on the way that the problemwill be phrased in order to make it appealing to the people. Thiswill mobilize people to join the movement. On the same note, ideologyis a very important aspect in a social movement. Aims and objectivesof the social movement are all dependent on the ideology generatedfor the movement. Identity also comes in as one of the features thatmake an impact in social movements.

Despitethe three elements being different in terms of what they constitute,they are somewhat related. Frame and ideologies are related andoverlap each other. Framing on one side deals with goals and how toachieve the identified goals, while on the other ideology constitutesthe ideas that are utilized in coining frames. It is clearly evidentthat cultural resources are key factors in social movements, whetherit is a movement or a counter movement. The three cultural resourcesinfluence the social movements towards their formation as well astowards the achievements of their goals or objectives. The threeelements have been some of the main tools for the formation ofpolitical movements as well as other prominent social movements suchas anti-gay marriage. It is evident that framing, ideology, andidentity are indispensable cultural properties towards socialmovements.


Williams,Rhys H. &quotConstructing the public good: Social movements andcultural resources.&quot SocialProblems42.1 (1995): 124-144. print

McAdamDoug, “Gender as a mediator of the activist experience the case offreedom summer.” Americanjournal of sociology.92.5 (1992), 1211-1240. Print

FetnerTina, “The impact of Christian Anti-Gay Activism on lesbian and gaymovement claims.” Socialproblems.48.3 (2001), 411-428. Print

Husu,Hanna-Mari. &quotBourdieu and Social Movements: Considering IdentityMovements In Terms Of Field, Capital And Habitus. “SocialMovement Studies&nbsp12.3(2013): 264-279.&nbspAcademicSearch Premier.Web. 6 Apr. 2015.