Religion Past and Present

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Social Movements
(884 words)

[German Version]

I. Definition

Social movements are agents of social change that concentrate on revolutionary transformation of society (social-revolutionary movements), reform within an existing social system (reform movements), or defense or restoration of a status quo (resistance movements). They play a central role in understanding social conflicts and analyzing social change.

II. History

The expression social movement arose in Europe in the late 18th century, in…

Cite this page
Jähnichen, Traugott, “Social Movements”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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