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Social Movements: Geographies Of Resistance

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Discuss about the Social Movements for Geographies of Resistance.




Cultural achievements and social conflicts form the roots our social lives. The proper understanding of geographical concepts helps people develop their abilities on how to interpret the impacts of their social movements (Worden, 2012). China is a democratic state that makes no pretense in its political system. China has been growing both politically and economically hence creating a broad importance in its global affairs. However, there are sustained political struggles which create inattention to the social movements’ disciplines, demands, and the robust conceptual tools that the people can use to analyze contentious issues that collectively concern their social lives in the global political arena (Wolf, 2009). To fill this void, social movement research has begun. The opponents of this article maintain that the most fruitful strategies for conceptualizing these geographical underpinnings of social movements would be the proper examination of how these issues of scale, place, and space affect the already identified processes in the establishment of political and sociological science literature on social movements. The aim of this article is to provide a policy brief that addresses the sustained resistance to political geographies as an issue of contention written by the opponents of social movement with a clear argument on why these social movement demands should or should not be addressed, and the sort of actions that needs to get taken to ensure that the society’s social movement demands succeed or fail.


Policy Brief Overview

This policy brief focuses on the views given by the opponents of the social movement. A social movement is associated with people's collective behavior, and this cannot get consigned to the lack of irrational behavior by people who protest to defend their rights. The opponents of social movement differ on the approaches that organizations pay attention to collectively in their response. Social movements will be viewed as a set of different opinions and views held by people, and their beliefs that represent preferences for changing some aspects of the social structure of the society (Tilly, 2004). On the other side, countermovement will be seen as a set of views, beliefs, and opinions in a population that are opposed to social movements. To this extend, leaders with proper political experiences are required to lead such social movements. In every social movement, politics must take effect, and this creates social unrest in the concerned society. 

Political geographies of resistance remain a terrain of opposition that has been contested for over an extended period. Critical claims forming the neoliberal governance and neocolonial dominance associated with global integration faces intense and complicated complains from people that critique "resistance" with considerable attention. The political battle for statehood is considered as a step by political parties to bring prospect, success, and sustainability in a nation (Amoore, 2005). Fight for power has been the topic of discussion in the whole world since most states and countries are opponents of democracy for their leaders want a dictatorship to prevail and take its course in the long-term governance of such nations. People have diverse ideas on this matter, and this has formed numerous descriptions about the human spirit, sexual subjectification perceptions, political forces, and even romance based critiques by the social groups.

In the recent past, social movement research has intensively grown. However, research on social movement perspectives shows that this concept has been neglected by the government. About geographies of resistance, is defined as an organized, sustained and self-conscious challenge that portrays the shared identity of the affected participants (Opp, 2009). Politicize is a menace that must get addressed for a nation to succeed (Bellamy, 2006). There have been advanced concerns by political parties, coalitions, protest groups, and other interested parties on the engagements used in the resolution of political conflicts within nations, particularly China. Research evidence that there have been sustained series of protests by people due to divisive politicking that the politicians engage in the daily lives (Opp, 2009). However, the use of formal representation in the national governments has been helpful in the resolution of these associated problems.


Issues of Contention

The main topics of contention discussed in this policy brief are resistance to bad governance which entails public demonstrations, voting processes, and social riots when persons demand changes in the power exercise and distribution (Nicholls, Miller, & Beaumont, 2013). Social movements reflect a set of conflicts that are dominant in a given community. In this policy brief, resistance to political geographies of resistance will get highly discussed about social-economic forces, racial subjectification, and other sexual crisis which arise from the uneven representation in the government (Goodwin & Jasper, 2003. Geographies of resistance stretch to revolutions, repression, revenge, retaliation, revanchist, reprisal, and rebellions that repeatedly create differences among the social groups hence resorting to the human crisis. In a broader view of these issues of contention, this policy brief focuses on different segments as discussed below:

Protest Technologies Developed by Social Movements and Ways they are Conceptualized

Under the topic; Geographies of resistance, social movement groups, use various technologies while protesting against the opponents of social movements in the society (North, 2011). There has been a parallel growth of social movements to technological changes in the communities. Social movements intertwine with technology at different levels. From the intervention of the press to the diffusion of television, social movements have been given new opportunities of organization and expression to the society (Holloway, 2002). The use of media especially TV is the primary protest technology that the social movement groups have developed to fight politicking. Social movements have been meeting, reshaping, and appropriating technological devices that support their protest actions against bad governance in the society. The critical grassroots to political participation has been the dominant force behind the establishment of protest technologies.

Social movements have always been led by political activists whose technical knowledge and competence cannot get questioned. The use of internet and social media is a technology that activists have been using to command a mass following against political wrangles in the society (Hudson, 2005). The social movement leaders are sociological, cultural, and media experts who know how to intertwine these subject with the use of internet technology in developing a social change in the form of demonstrations within the society.

On the other side, these developed protest technologies have been conceptualized by the political activists who lead the protest social movement groups. Unique communication and forms of organization have been some of the primary tools under which these protest technologies are conceptualized and positioned to the protesting groups by these political activists. Further, labor movement groups led by union leaders have organized work boycotts, strikes, and free speech fights against poor governance and leadership as a tool to conceptualize the laid down protest technologies in the society (Lunghi & Wheeler, 2012). The adoption of a commission marketing scheme by political activists has also been a tool to position these protest technologies in the societies. Also, in the case of terrorism which is planned by IT experts, the use of direct mail technology has facilitated the spread of the proposed terror action to their members across the globe.

Historical/ Contemporary Social Movements

In this contemporary society, the society has taken new social movements against geographies of resistance. Beyond illusion retention to symmetric conflicts, other political goals, and advanced insistence to looming politicide the society has been superior in defending its rights. The voting process is nearly exercised in every state whereby the society exercises their democratic right to elect their leaders who would ensure fair distribution of resources and equitable exercise of power.

In every democratic state, people have been using ballot boxes to elect MPs who would represent constituency interests to the central government and ensure that their demands are met. Purely non-violent protests and demonstrations are also other contemporary social movements. Additionally, in the events these demands are inadequately represented by the political leaders to the national government, people have always exercised their democratic right to protest and demonstrate peacefully against bad governance and leadership. Protesting in the streets has been the most common social movement in this contemporary society. Some of the reasons behind society's demonstrations have been fighting for human rights such as sex abuse, racism, corruption, nepotism, and improper allocation of resources to the constituency level by the top government. Other times, parliamentary debates have been crucial in the representation of public interest by the elect MPs, and in the event, this fails, demonstrations and protests have been advocated.

The high pressure of politicide that makes social communities fail to enjoy the unwavering hegemonic powers and their right is the primary factor behind social movements. Historically and since time immemorial, politics has been a vice. Politicking is viewed as a menace behind social-economic challenges that the world as a society face. The sharp rise of social disparities, internal rifts in governance, and the drastic decreases in economic possibilities for the lower and middle-class people in the society established social movements to fight the bad politics. Historically, people have been voting for their leaders who would represent their views, opinions, interests, and grievances from the constituency to the national government for their rights to be addressed.

There have been violent resistances to politicking majorly through geographies of resistance through terror attacks. For example, the Palestine's terror attacks to Israelites were considered as an economic threat to Israel. This created a social movement entitled the delegitimization efforts to seek for historical justice and respect to humanity. This fight for historical truth was associated with the battle for sovereign democracy since the Palestine’s were out to bring about Israel to doom.


Responses Open to Opponents of Social Movements

Social movements exercise their democratic right to protest, demonstrate, and vote against lousy leadership that adversely affects their social lives. Denial of democracy and exercise of politicking leads to the inequitable distribution of resources, abuse of human rights, racism, corruption, and other forms of political fraud schemes (Mason, 2012). Where politicking exists, the societies suffer lack of basic social amenities. However, the opponents of social movements argue that protests and demonstrations against the leadership of the state slow down the growth in the economy. 

These scholars postulate that democracy should suffer in the name of economic progress, but this is untrue. No taxpayers are happy when they do not see the value of the tax they pay. Again, it is not human when a particular group of people in the society fail to pay taxes while other people pay (North & Longhurst, 2015). These arguments form the geographies of resistance to politicking by the community through streets protests and demonstration. It is a point of concern as to why the opponents of social movements maintain their position, and yet we all suffer lousy governance as a country. Grounded on these arguments, there are various responses open to opponents of social movements by the society’s members and these include:

a). Protest and demonstrations are considered as reform movements: Peaceful demonstrations are the society’s democratic right and are significantly instigated to bring change to a country’s political, social, and economic systems (North & Longhurst, 2015). Unlike the opponents of social movements, protests do not overthrow the existing regime but instead works to resolve bad governance in the society.

b). Voting is a democratic right: Democratically, people, vote and elect their preferred MPs in the ballot box and should not get opposed. Most activists campaign against their political rivals to gain political mileage in an election period (McCarthy & Zald, 1977). Reforms within a nation can only be reflected by the will of the people on the ballot, and this is the right response to the opponents of social actions by the society.

c). Social movements improve personal lives and defend the society’s rights: Activists call for social measures against the government when politicking creates corruption, abuse of human rights, and inequitable distribution of resources. Unlike the opponents of social movements who argue that they tarnish a country's name, the proponents of social movements affirm that this is the primary vehicle for achieving national transformation (Meyer et al., 2002).


Limitations of Protest and Mobilization

Protest and mobilization acts of social movement groups against politicking have their demerits. Protests and mobilizations are considered unprofessional acts taken by political activists as this does not depict their right image to the positions they hold in the government (Martin, 2015). Social movement actions are based on diverse social beliefs some of which are unconstitutional and do not follow the established dynamics of demonstrations by the constitution, and this creates social, political, and economic unrest to a nation. In a nutshell, the most common limitations of protests and mobilization acts as argued by the opponents of social movements are:

a). Time-critical feats and real-time mapping crises: The organization of mass rallies to mobilize the society to protest over vast geographies creates political crises. Despite the significant importance of protests, social mobilization makes the society over exited and demand immediate action by the government on their social concerns. When this is prolonged, crowd effect in the streets prolongs too hence harming the economy.

b). Time limitation: The use of social media and the internet in the mobilization of large masses of persons requires cover-age of vast informational geographies and landscapes, and this is highly limited in time. The use of social media platforms is abused as activists mobilize voluntary disasters to a country, and this is harmful.

c). Limited understanding of the use of technology: Some activists have been spot abusing protest technologies. For instance, Osama Bin Laden terrorist acts were speared through the technology (Gibson-Graham, 2008). The use of technology in the designing of suicide bombs has an adverse impact on the society as a whole since innocent souls are killed in the course of protests by the social movements.

Specific Historical or Contemporary Social Movement Using Social Movement Theory

The social movement theory explains how mobilization occurs, the forms under which the mobilization is manifest, and also the potential political and social-cultural consequences that the mobilization poses. In this policy brief, under the post-industrial economy that started in the mid of 1960s, voting over the ballot box has been a social movement that specifically has been transmitted from the western societies to nearly all nations in the world. Voting as a historical, social movement action follows certain processes in how it manifests itself as well as the consequences it has to a nation both socially and politically (Gee, 2011). In reference to social movement theory, through the voting process, people elect their preferred leaders who represent their demands regarding social amenities from the national government. As a result, this historical social movement leads to stability in the social, cultural, and political activities within the society.

Contemporary, protests and peaceful demonstrations have been used by most social movements. According to the social movement theory, demonstrations require the social mobilization of masses and the impact of mobilization is manifest socially, economically, and politically within the society (Featherstone, 2008). Protests are aimed at protecting the public interest from politicking. However, protests potentially destabilize a nation's economy while on the other side ensure that the social demands are addressed according to by the government.


There has been a slowed action by geographers in their analysis of the particular processes and mechanisms that motivate people to participate, engage, and co-operate the eradication of increased resistance to political geographies of resistance with the powerful and rich adversaries in their nation. Politics has both advantages and disadvantages in every democratic nation. The sustained interactions between people in the political powers and other persons claiming to speak on behalf of social constituencies lacking formal representation have raised demonstrations. Poor politicking prevents equity in power distribution to the constituencies as well as the fair allotment of social amenities. Public demonstration implies social unrest due to a feeling of unfair treatment to the citizens by the government. Therefore, all democratic countries should form social movement groups and raise their grievances peacefully as they seek for amicable resolution from the government.



Amoore, L., Ed. (2005). The Global Resistance Reader. London, Routledge.

Bellamy, A (2006). "Just wars from Cicero to Iraq," Polity, Cambridge. Chapter 7, ‘Terrorism’

Featherstone, D. (2008). Resistance, space and the making of political identities Oxford,Blackwell with RGS/IBG.

Gee, T. (2011). Counterpower: making change happen. Oxford, World Changing.

Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2008). Diverse economies: performative practices for `other worlds.'

Progress in Human Geography, 32, 613-632.

Goodwin, J. & Jasper, J.M., (2003). The Social Movements Reader, Oxford Blackwell 

Holloway, J. (2002). Change the world without taking power: the meaning of revolution today.

London, Pluto

Hudson, K. (2005). CND Now more than ever: the story of a peace movement, London, Vision

Lunghi, A. & Wheeler, S. (2012). Occupy Everything: Reflections on why it’s kicking off

everywhere Autonomedia: New York

Martin, G. (2015). Understanding Social Movements, London, Routledge

Mason, P. (2012). Why it's all kicking off everywhere: the new global revolutions. London,

Verso .

McCarthy, J. & M. Zald., (1977). "Resource mobilization and social movements: a partial

theory." In American Journal of Sociology 82(6): 1212-1241.

Meyer, D., N. Whittier, et al., Eds. (2002). Social Movements: Identity, Culture and the State

Oxford, Oxford University Press

Nicholls, W; Miller, B & Beaumont, J (2013). Spaces of Contention: Spatialities of Social

Movements, Farnham, Ashgate (includes a chapter by our very own Andy Davies)

North, P. & Longhurst, N. (2015). "Grassroots localization: the scalar potential of and limits of

the ‘Transition' approach to climate change and resource constraint" in Urban Studies, 50/7 pp. 1421-1436

North, P. 2011: "The politics of climate activism in the UK: a social movement analysis," in

Environment and Planning A, vol 43/7 pp 1581-1598.

Opp, K-D (2009). Theories of Political Protest and Social Movements London, Routledge

Tilly, C. (2004). Social Movements 1798-2004. Boulder, Paradigm Publishers.

Wolf, S. (2009). Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation,

Chicago, Haymarket Books

Worden, M. (2012). The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women's

Rights, Bristol, Policy Press.


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