Western ethnocentrism in the social movement discourse keeps cropping up now and again. An attempt is made to arrive at a theoretical orientation unconstrained by historical contingency, but at the same time, without being a-historical. Conceptually, a distinction is made between social mobilisations and social movements, and between social movements and quasi-social movements. Since social movements are inevitably linked with social changes, a classification of social movements by its intended changes is presented to distinguish between varieties of social movements. Finally, the use of means — institutional and non-institutional — is factored into the theoretical orientation.