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Article and references updated to reflect recent research.

Updated on 26 April 2019. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Since the 19th century, social movements have provided US social work with its intellectual and theoretical foundations and many of its leaders. Social workers were among the founders of the Progressive movement and have played important roles in the labor, feminist, civil rights, welfare rights, and peace movements for over a century. Since the 1960s, social workers have been active in New Social Movements (NSMs), which have focused on issues of identity, self-esteem, human rights, and the development of oppositional critical consciousness, as well as international movements that have emerged in response to economic globalization, environmental degradation, and major population shifts, including mass immigration. More recently, they have played a supportive role in the transnational Occupy movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and movements to establish marriage equality, protect immigrants and refugees, promote the rights of transgender persons, and advocate for environmental justice.

Keywords: collective action, progressive movement, labor movement, populism, New Social Movements, resource mobilization theory, feminism, civil rights, pacifism, Socialism, Rank and File movement

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