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Social Movements

  • By: Byron Miller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Social movements are sustained, organized forms of collective action that strive to bring about social or political change. Typically originating in civil society, they seek to change the policies and actions of the state, the practices of corporations, or the organization of society generally. Like all social relations, social movements are spatially constituted. Social movements mobilize and operate in a spatial context, are themselves spatially constituted by actors both internal and external to social movement organizations, and seek to alter sociospatial power relations.

There has been an explosion of geographical research on social movements since the late 1980s, incorporating a variety of geographic concepts. Much of the early research focused on the place-based constitution of social movements. John Agnew and R. J. Johnston argued for an ...

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