A social movement is a sustained collective challenge to some aspect of the status quo within a society. According to Charles Tilly, it is a relatively new form of contentious political engagement, dating back only to the latter part of the eighteenth century.
Broader definition of "social movement" might include other political forms, including religious movements, that have existed for thousands of years. In the 19th and 20th centuries, powerful social movements included the social justice movement, peace movement, environmental movement and women's rights movement.
Modern social justice movements include organizations such as Oxfam (anti-poverty) and Amnesty International (human rights). The peace movement includes organizations such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Greenpeace which have raised awareness of the dangers of nuclear war. One of the fastest growing social movements in recent times is the environmental movement.
- Graeme Taylor (2008). Evolution's Edge, New Society Publishers, pp. 167-169.