Democratization and Social Movements
The modern world is constantly changing, and so are the theoretical assumptions we use to understand it. As modernity continues to increase in its complexity, the traditional theoretical models for understanding power and implementations of social movements simply are not working. In his work, Powers of Freedom, Nikalos Rose posits that our theoretical assumptions of power no longer fit the evolving complexity of it; while, Ponna Wignaraja argues that strategies for implementing social movements in places like Africa no longer meet the goals of the people, and must be defined in terms of strategy to best succeed in providing for the citizens of such regions.
Nikalos Rose argues from within a Foucaultian perspective how much the world has changed, and how it no longer can be understood through traditional schemas of knowledge. His work is a collection of knowledge generated from not only the works of past authors, but also innovative assumptions of the real world as it stands today. Powers of Freedom presents a persuasive argument that challenges more outdated methods of thinking about our political and social environments. Within the seven essays. Rose presents a powerful and multifaceted argument for redefining freedom and political power within the modern context. Traditional sociological theories no longer contain the capacity to really understand and explain the nature of modern power and construction of the governments that search for it. Typical theories that have traditionally been used throughout the modern era simply can not appropriately answer the question of who hold power and how it is constructed in a viable manner, without raising another entirely new set of unanswerable questions. Rose believes that there are new implementations of truth and power based on the changing nature of the socioeconomic environment of the modern world. Essentially, within the context of his work, Rose shows that the modern world has simply become much too complex to be understood in the more simplistic terminologies of the past.
The modern world is too unpredictable and complicated to be understood with these more outdated notions of sociological and political theoretical strategies.
Rather, Rose posits new methods of thinking about the political and governmental environment of an ever changing and increasingly complex environment. The world is now dominated by advanced liberalism that focuses on promoting a capitalist existence.
We must then redesign our understanding and clarifying how the liberal conceives freedom because this is what essentially impacts our modern notion of power and governmental control.
Rose explores how the liberal undermines traditional implications of stricter, more conservative notions of power and thus provides a greater capacity for freedom that then manipulates the minds of the people to understand the ideas of freedom differently than any previous generation had seen. Freedom is now synonymous with autonomy, which impacts how we understand freedom, but also our own exercise of it within our daily lives. Essentially, autonomy is understood as not only personal power, but also one's individual ability to accept responsibility for actions and participation within the larger community.
Zones of identity are formed through autonomous actions of individuals on a collective, community oriented level. These are constructed on a local level, rather than on a larger national level, which leaves different communities to have entirely different and autonomous constructions of identity.
Rose's theories relate to a number of other prominent works regarding the new role of identity with the creation of power and political structures. Craig Calhoun shows how changing notions of identity can be a key factor in establishing demands and elements of modern political movements. In his work "Social Theory and the Politics of Identity," Calhoun expresses similar ideas as Rose regarding the strength of individual autonomy and how it can be used to create political change within outdated systems. Essentially, the expressing of individual identities, as well as collective community identities, can help shape social movements to better tailor to the needs of the people involved. Rose believes in a similar concept. We then learn to express our own autonomy and use it within the environment of our own communities in influential ways that further shape the nature of the societies around us. However, Rose also believes that even current political systems can benefit from expressing individual and collective identities, and that it is not limited to anti-systematic social movements. Modern governments are essentially seeing this growing level of individual autonomy not as a threat, but as something that they can align with more national level strategies.
Moreover, the work of Gabriel Abraham Almond and Sidney Verba construes an interesting concept of the civil culture, which is essentially how political forces create decisions, norms, and attitudes of both the political structure and their citizens within in.
This concept shows how even political structures already established can benefit from the expression of individual autonomy. Civic cultures are influenced by individual and collective identities. Political structures that best incorporate them will ultimately better represent their own citizens and succeed more in designing movements and objectives.
Ponna Wignaraja's work also examines the need for redefining social movements within a modern context. The work focuses on using detailed examples and analysis of real movements occurring within the past few decades in many Third World nations. In the context of Africa within the 20th century, social movements were dependent on individual nations' fight for independence. Thus, social movements in the region were often tied to the policies and demands of the parties that were initiating the movement towards independence, and not necessarily on the needs of the communities and people themselves. Such social revolution focus on uniting class divisions and communities under the banner of a single goal, not the more diversified objectives that are seen in many Western social movements.
Yet, once the goal of independence was achieved, these social movements tend to turn against the needs and demands of the people.
Conservatism then replaces progressive militancy as these formerly anti-systematic movements become more systemized.
As the emerging independent nation is tempted to fall into the fold of global capitalism, a discrepancy arises between the party objectives and the people it is supposed to represent. Essentially, one bureaucracy is replaced with another in such contexts. Thus, Wignaraja's work argues that for social movements in such nations to be more effective, they must turn towards embracing popular demands, rather than those of an elite few within the party of power. It also questions the capacity of new movements to go past what their predecessors had done and shows the need for movements to go beyond mere independence and into a more complicated approach to bringing greater power and autonomy to the individual people that live within the regions, not only the parties that dominate their government structures.
Wignajara's work also relates to other discourse within the modern context as well. For example, Neera Chandhoke presents similar ideas that attest to Wignajara's concept of why many social movements have failed in developing nations. She states that separating the domains of a collective consciousness can be detrimental, because without influencing one another, they are all bound to fail.
Thus, a new nation moving too fast into the global civil society will often fail to address the needs of its people, who may still be suffering. Developing nations must focus on greater protection of the people's needs before the quick assimilation into the global society. Additionally, an article written by Dieter Rucht and Friedhelm Neidhardt in 2002 explains how social movements are dependent on the conditions that raised them in the first place. Thus, when social movements arise out of the singular need for independence, they can only attain goals related to that, and often fail to provide more social equality and justice for people in developing nations. As more and more social movements beginning to come about, it is…