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Elements of Social Change “Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott became the epicenter of the civil rights campaign not only because of an individual act of defiance, but also because of social patterns” (Barrios 2015). Although she was not the first person to be arrested for breaking the Montgomery bus laws, what sparked the movements and protests were her relationships throughout the community. One could say that the relationships that she had were the reason for social change. Charles Duhigg mentions a few key tools that are required for social change, which initiated the Rosa Parks movement. For social change to be produced, the elements that must be considered are weak ties, strong ties, peer pressure, and social habits.
According to Duhigg, these four main elements are always included in a process when a movement occurs. Strong ties are close relationships, mostly with people who one is comfortable with. Weak ties are distant connections, which is having an idea of a person, but not knowing them personally. More importantly, weak ties spread information from person to person about new opportunities. These are both relevant in social interactions, extending one’s options beyond typical relationships. Peer pressure, which is often present in communities, also plays a large role in social change since it gets people out of their comfort zone even if people do not notice. In the Rosa Parks movement, people were obligated to support her since the majority consisted of church and volunteer groups. If one did not participate, it could possibly cause uncomfortable feelings, they could lose relationships, lower their self-esteem, or even lose social status.
Duhigg mentions, “In adult life, it’s how business gets done and communities self-organize.” Most people perceive peer pressure as a negative subject, but in large movements, it is how social change occurs paired with strong and weak ties. It is also connected to social habits, “the behaviors that occur, unthinkingly, across dozens or hundreds or thousands of people which are often hard to see as they emerge, but which contain a power that can change the world” (Barrios 2015). Social habits influence people that do things for different purposes to come together and give them a chance to show their character and authority. Acquiring and passing these social habits by leaders can advance community ownership for the future of a movement. With these tools combined and the right people, a movement could possible ignite just like the movement that Rosa Parks created.
The effectiveness of each tool varies, but they are all necessary in a movement. Strong ties are important since they are the relationships that one maintains regularly. They cannot be replaced and consume much time. However, having too many strong ties could make it harder to develop acquaintances or find new opportunities. In a large movement, it is good to have close social networks and expand so that more people will hear about it and be involved. On the other hand, weak ties are essential for creating groups of strong ties and binding them together. They also bring valuable information across networks that can benefit the people in the groups. For example, one could find out about a new job opportunity that they would not hear from a strong tie. Also, sometimes beginning with strong ties in smaller groups like Saddleback Church then expanding to larger groups with weak ties can carry many ideas across easily.
Although there are drawbacks from strong and weak ties, combining them together can create a powerful message or movement quickly. Peer pressure exposes people to new experiences in which they were not comfortable in experiencing at first. In many cases, it can be positive peer pressure, leading people to things that they were uncomfortable doing before, but when they have someone to relate to, it can become life changing. It mostly depends on the situation. For movements especially, it is almost an obligation to be apart of it or people will look down on others. In addition, peer pressure allows one to adopt a variety of habits. This brings a positive aspect to look forward to in life or even change one’s way of thinking. Due to human diversity, the uncovering of peer pressure will allow one to see different perspectives of others which creates an open mind. Nevertheless,
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