This paper explores the role that social movements play in weakening the racial hierarchies that continue to persist in contemporary United States and South Africa. A theoretical analysis of the function of social movements is followed by an historical survey of the racial hierarchies within these two countries, with particular attention paid to the countries’ respective eras of institutionalized racism characterized by the Jim Crow and Apartheid periods. After which, police brutality and service delivery are used to exemplify the structural racism that endures in each of these societies. These two issues also serve as the most galvanizing issues for provoking social movements in the United States and South Africa.


Moskowitz, Eric


Political Science


Comparative Politics | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Social movement, race relations, South African politics, police brutality, toilet wars, United States politics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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