The International Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences defines a social movement as a variety of collective attempts to bring about change. The attempts may be to bring about change in certain social institutions and to create an entirely new social order.
So, social movements involve collective action by the person which is directed towards changing some of the values, norms and social relations in a society but which are spontaneous and sustained. According to Touraine social movements have three important functions. They are:
Social movements relate the individual to the larger society. They give each person a chance to participate, to express his ideas and to play a role in the process of social change.
Social movements stimulate the formation of organised groups that work to see that their plans and policies are implemented.
3. Social movement generates and develops ideas which spread throughout society. As a result, group consciousness arises and grows.