Social Movements

Pick a social movement that interests you. Given the nature of the assignment, identity movements such as the women’s, civil rights, and LGBTQIA movements are good starting points. However, you are welcome to choose any movementBreaking social norms. Based on your movement of choice, think about how individuals might make the “personal political” by challenging cultural attitudes or beliefs. In the third part of this assignment, you will break some personal norm and/or boundary with respect to your appearance and/or your behavior. What this norm is will depend on your own identity in terms of gender, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation (or other identity dimension). Select a norm that you could break that relates to your movement of choice. You will plan, execute, and write about this experience for this assignment

Among the questions you might want to consider are: What does the literature say about your movement and about breaking social norms? What is the on the ground evidence about how activists have worked to ensure the success of the movement? What role does identity play for the movement?

Describe what you did. Describe the sequence of events that occurred when you broke the norm. Some questions you might consider: Did you change how you looked? Did you change how you acted? In what setting did you do this? Who was or was not affected? Who was your target? What was the outcome for others? If you tried it on people you know…After breaking the norm… let some time elapse (e.g. at least a day) and then you could ask people what they thought. You might want to try breaking a particular norm in different settings or with different groups of people. What difference did this make?

Describe how it felt to makes these changes. Describe your thoughts and concerns as you anticipated breaking the norm(s). Did people react the way that you anticipated? How easy or difficult was this for you? Were you surprised about any experiences of social control? Was it hard not to discuss what you were doing with other people (think about why)?

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