Chapter 1: Rethinking Theories on Social Movements and Development
Shinichi Shigetomi In developing countries, ordinary people are often faced with threats to their personal security, and such threats include poverty, violence, the suppression of rights and freedom, and deprivation of resources. Though people may desire to voice their grievances, a formal system for doing so is usually lacking. Elections do not necessarily reflect the specific grievances of the people and very often are not implemented fairly and competitively. Bureaucrats, for their part, tend to neglect, subordinate and even exploit people rather than attempt to understand their grievances. Even in cases where some non-governmental institutions such as labor unions are included in the formal system of negotiation with the government, they may assist only a proportion of the people or respond to only some of their demands. Given such circumstances, non-formal methods become an indispensable alternative as a means for people to express their opinions and demand changes in their own fates. Such ‘conscious, concerned, and sustained efforts by ordinary people to change some aspect of their society by using extra-institutional means’ (Goodwin and Jasper 2003, p. 3) is what we refer to here as social movements. Indeed, numerous social movements can be observed in the developing world in particular. Searching through articles in the New York Times during the past 20 years, I found that about 30 percent of articles containing both the words ‘protest’ and ‘rally’ refer to areas in the developing world.1 Moreover, not all categories of social movements in developing countries are necessarily publicized by the...
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