By Russell Bertrand
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Social theory and social structure . New York: Free Press. Michels, R. 1959 Political parties . New York: Dover. Offe, C. 1985. New social movements: Changing the boundaries of institutional politics. Social Research 52:817–68. 18. Peterson, A. 1984. The sex-gender dimension in Swedish politics. Acta Sociologica 27:3– Touraine, A. 1977. The self-production of society . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Touraine, A. 1981. The voice and the eye: An analysis of social movements . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Epochs are moments of rupture and transformation. During the epoch of transition, such as the Renaissance, individualism, the rejection of traditional rules, stronger competition, and the risk of war gain around. Do we live today in a new historical period or are we still in an epoch of rupture and transition? I believe that we are leaving such an epoch. What have been called new social movements during the 1970s and the early 1980s expressed in many cases this crisis of industrial values, the push toward a more permissive society, and a deep preoccupation with the risks of war.
No longer do social movements seek to control the main cultural resources and models of society through conflicts in which enemies are defined by a process of social domination. This liberal criticism of the so-called new social movements is much more interesting than the vague analysis that lumps various currents of opinions, revolts, social demands, innovations, and antistate campaigns together under this name. The hyperliberal view is far removed from both nineteenth-century optimism and the ideology of classical sociology.