Sociology Behind Building Movements


Three parts to how movements are started:

  1. Strong ties and the habits of friendship
  2. Weak ties and the habits of a community
  3. Movement participants given new habits,a revamped sense of ownership, and a fresh identity
     “Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott became the epicenter of the civil rights campaign not only because of an individual’s act of defiance, but also because of social patterns. Park’s experiences offer a lesson in the power of social habits — the behaviors that occur, unthinkingly, across dozens or hundreds or thousands of people which are often hard to see as they emerge, but which contain a power that can change the world. Social habits are what fill streets with protesters who may not know one another, who might be marching for different reasons, but who are all moving in the same direction. Social habits are why some initiatives become world-changing movements, while others fail to ignite. And the reason why social habits have such influence is because at the root of many movements — be they large-scale revolutions or simple fluctuations in the churches people attend — is a three part process that historians and sociologists says shows up again and again
     A movement starts because of the social habits of friendship and the strong ties between close acquaintances.
     It grows because of the habits of a community, and the weak ties that hold neighborhoods and clans together.
     And it endures because a movement’s leaders give participants new habits that create a fresh sense of identity and feeling of ownership” (217)
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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