It is important to note that politics and social structure are primarily driven by various forms of collective actions, which is especially true within a democratic system. Although dictatorships might be heavily reliant on individual decisions, they are still impacted by the collective actions of the population, but to a lesser extent. However, one should be able to distinguish between interest groups and social movements since the former seeks to change policies, whereas the latter is about attitude change.
Collective action within a society and its legal framework can happen either through interest groups or social movements. It should be noted that interest groups are comprised of any group of individuals not belonging to a particular political party that seeks to influence the government and its policies. Social movements are larger in scale and more loose compared to interest groups, which highlight their plurality of nature and focus on attitude shifts rather than precise objectives. Interest groups can be represented by business corporations or specific industry representatives, which fight against policies that can harm them or promote policies that benefit them. A social movement will fight for broader changes, which require more significant shifts in social contract and agreement, such as equality, women’s rights, civil rights, or justice.
In conclusion, both social movements and interest groups seek to influence society and its government, but the latter does so with precision and narrowly outlined interests, whereas the former is about social attitude change. One should be aware of these differences since they reflect differential formats of group politics. Interest groups are more active and common in the United States, but social movements are rarer and more profound in the final outcomes.