HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 5 no. 2 (2005)

A Contextualized Approach to the Study of Radical Social Movements

Jaime Mendoza Jimenez

Discipline: Political Science



Western theories and models of social movements are not tailor-fit frameworks through which social movements in the rest of the world could be studied and understood. If a social movement seeks social reform, its analysis could be based on how well it is able to influence public policy, initiate political reforms, or penetrate government to effect change from within or gain access to resources. If a social movement, however, aims for a radical transformation of society, its analysis thereof could not be based on the same parameters. The examination of a radical peasant movement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), reveals that said theories are often problematic in explaining its dynamics in the context of movement emergence, activity, and continuity. Further, the study of radical social movements necessitates a particular frame of reference that is sensitive to their peculiar character and environment. What is needed therefore is a contextualized approach to appropriately study radical social movements.