New social movements is a term which has been used to designate the women's, Black liberation, peace, anti-nuclear, gay and lesbian, disability, and environmental movements which became influential beginning in the 1960s. The term puts them in contrast to the older working-class radical movements which focused on economic production and the antagonisms between capital and labour. With the new social movements, some positions previously considered apolitical became loci of political mobilisation and conflict. Organisation in these movements is often less formal, less hierarchical, and less unified on a broad mass basis than in the older working-class movements. The French philosopher Michel Foucault has noted that while the new social movements assert and validate individual difference, they also "tie the individual to his identity in a constraining way".[1] There has been some debate within feminism as to whether the formation of alliances between new social movements works for or against women's interests. Chantal Mouffe has argued that the various radical democratic movements should redefine their overlapping identities rather than try to put together a rainbow coalition of already constituted interests.[2]

Other work(s)

  • Sonya Andermahr, Terry Lovell, and Carol Wolkowitz, 2000. A Glossary of Feminist Theory


  1. Quoted in Sonya Andermahr and others, p 184
  2. Sonya Andermahr and others, p 184

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