What Is the Definition of Social Reform?

Pabak Sarkar/CC-BY 2.0

Social reform is a movement that seeks to change the social and political views of marginalized groups. Social reform movements involve the marginalized group and the activists in an effort to change political policy while bringing public awareness to the issue through protests, amended legislature and the media.

Reform movements are often gradual movements that make subtle changes to particular characteristics of society, although when a subtle social movement does not work, a radical, aggressive social reform may take place. Social movements have sought to reform policies regarding women’s rights, slavery, civil rights, public school systems, prisons, alcohol consumption, psychiatric hospitals, homeless shelters and voting rights.