Can a social movement endure at UNE?
Social movements are built on connections between people to reach a large number of people rapidly within different social groups. These movements start and endure by continuously traveling through different connections that people have made. Social movements start with strong ties, but continue through weak ties, and endure with social habits that people exhibit.
Social movements start with connections that are made through strong ties. Strong ties are close relationships like family, or close friends. Duhigg talks about the civil rights movement, but specifically Rosa Parks and his definition in relation to this story declares “strong ties – firsthand relationships — with dozens of groups throughout Montgomery that didn’t usually come into contact with one another”(Duhigg 89). When Rosa Parks was arrested her strong ties to lawyers and others in the community got her out of jail and helped spread the word of the injustice that was occurring. Her amount of strong ties also made this story larger than others had been. Strong ties are the people that will support the movement without hesitation and they will spread the word about the movement you wish to start. While strong ties can help gain the momentum to get movements started, many other relationships and actions are needed for a movement to endure. Movements also need weak ties to continue to endure after all strong ties have been exhausted.
Weak ties open doors to social groups that are not accessed through strong ties. Weak ties can get information to someone that would have not been received through strong ties because strong ties usually have the same social groups. From Duhigg’s writing we can gather that weak ties are the relationships with acquaintances that find opportunities that we usually would not have access to. These weak ties help social movements because they have connections to other people that strong ties do not have. These weak ties also rely on social pressure to not be ostracized by their peers. A social movement would endure at UNE because people would feel pressured by their weak ties to participate if the movements starts with a large organization. A social movement is possible at UNE if it starts with a large enough organization like the football team. Since the football team is the newest team with the most support it would be able to garner enough support for the movement to spread throughout the university. All the players strong ties with each other could start the movement and the weak ties would continue it. While this club is large enough and has enough ties throughout the student body, the movement will still need strong ties with faculty members so that the movement can spread school wide. Erica Rousseau would be a good place to start since she works on civil engagement and inclusivity on campus so she would know what ties with certain people are most important. She would also know how to make sure it continues once everyone is aware of it. Weak ties using peer pressure in a way is one way to make sure it continues because no one wants their friends to think they are not involved in the issues that everyone is participating in changing. Once the movement has spread the changes made through that movement will become social habits. According to Duhigg, social habits are “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”(Duhigg 87). By making this social movement people will slowly change their behaviors and before we know it they will have become one of many social habits that are exhibited everyday.