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Movements translate their vision of the message as the solid fundament offering answers to all problems of life into various activities: religious preaching, ethically correcting one’s own as well as another’s behavior, political activity, and, last but not least, organized social work. This social work has given rise to the establishment of numerous voluntary welfare associations. Many voluntary welfare associations are the product of a society that traditionally cherishes and cultivates religious values. Their role has been reinforced, however, by relatively recent trends of religious revival in the world. These trends took place against the backdrop of modernizing developments over the last fifty years. They include the development of state structures that, while modern in a sense, are authoritarian and oppressive in a political sense, urbanization, the spread of mass education and mass media, globalization, and, lastly, the near-ubiquity of the world market. The combination of these factors in many territories has led to serious socio-economic and social good dislocations, a decline in traditional forms of social cohesion, cultural alienation, and concomitant feelings of deprivation.

Such forms of dislocations, exclusions, and (relative) deprivations largely emanating from the dominant systems of state and (global) market must have heightened the attraction of a religious discourse that emphasizes the lifeworld values of community relations and the cultivation of morality in the context of daily life in a modern and urban environment. Through such a discourse, some religious movements manage to restore a sense of self-worth and social, moral, and even political orientation to various groups of people living in an often uncertain and frustrating (secular) modern society. Such religious discourse also fosters, in turn, the creation, reinforcement, and expansion of (new forms of ) social cohesion and networks.

As a matter of fact, discourse can be very explicit about values of social cohesion, such as care, compassion, honesty, trust, and mutual solidarity. Frames represent interpretive schemata that offer language and cognitive tools for making sense of experiences and events in the ‘world out there.’ For social movements, these schemata are important in the production and dissemination of interpretations and are designed to mobilize participants and support. As signifying agents engaged in the social construction of meaning, movements must articulate and disseminate frameworks of understanding that resonate with potential participants and the broader public to elicit collective action.  Indeed, the traditional societal formations in the world that, for other scholars, prove the existence of a relatively autonomous civil space throughout history were, “almost uniformly patriarchal and authoritarian, often coercive.” Positions of authority within, as well as general members of these formations, were usually based upon family ties and inheritance from father to son. All of them stressed values of authority, loyalty, and obedience. Here, also emphasizes that patriarchal associations and attitudes have persisted, even if they have been reconstituted under modern conditions. Examples are tribal and village associations in cities, formal and informal religious associations around neighborhoods, mosques, and charities, and the more invisible web of familial bonds and authorities.

New social and political forces have a special affinity with these social formations and have sought in many places to control and colonize them. Many businessmen and enterprises are related to many movements. They contribute to social projects and charities of organizations and feed into social networks of patronage, conversion, and mobilization. Their role as major employers is instrumental in this regard. Through the provision of social good services, they engage in moral and social colonization of the community at large, since the objective is to term religious observance and ethical conduct. The framework of these social services places a strong emphasis on family morality and the decency of women and young people. The offices are content with these activities since they ameliorate social discontent and the associations that carry their function as agents of social control.

Many NGOs do not aim to mobilize their clients in order to wage collective struggles to improve their lot. The way in which they approach the urban poor is basically as deserving, but passive recipients of their services. Initiatives in the domain of welfare for the poor are basically part of a broader endeavor aimed at the establishment of an all-encompassing legal, political, social, and moral order. Accordingly, Middle-class agitators tend to activate marginalized but more educated strata in the society, such as students, professionals, the educated unemployed as well as groups that are socio-economically relatively strong but politically excluded. Many of the NGOs’ services, like those in the realms of education and health care, are financially affordable to those middle-class groups but not to the poor. Political activation of the poor rarely transcends the gathering of their votes at election time.


Sparrows by morning, live in peaceful nests! Design shouldn’t dominate things, shouldn’t dominate people. It should help people. Don’t spend your time solving your favorite problems, solve problems that need to be solved, generically. A home is a place where you live, and society is a place where your story begins. Honesty shares honesty, as it is honesty’s nature. Stay always in Ablution and get back to the trust you have been, with.

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