Protest and Opportunities: The Political Outcomes of Social Movements

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-12-30
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr

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Although grass-roots social movements are an important force of social and political change, they quite often fail to achieve their lofty goals. Similarly, the inability of research to systematically explain the impact of such movements stands in sharp contrast to their emotional appeal.Protest, Opportunities, and Mechanismsattempts to rejuvenate current scholarship by developing a comprehensive theory of social movements and political change. In addition to reviewing the existing literature on the political outcomes of social movements, this volume analyzes the examples of the American civil rights movement and anti-nuclear energy efforts in eighteen countries to forge a new understanding of their momentous impact.

Author Biography

Felix Kolb is executive director of the Bewegungsstiftung, a progressive social change foundation based in Verden/Aller, Germany.

Table of Contents

Figures and Tablesp. viii
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiv
Introductionp. 1
Causal Mechanisms and Social Science Theoryp. 2
The Political Outcomes of Social Movementsp. 4
A Literature That Grows but Does Not Accumulatep. 6
The Structure of the Bookp. 11
A Partial Theory of Social Movements and Political Change
Collective Goods, Public Policies, Political Institutions, and Political Changep. 21
Can We Assess the Political Outcomes of Social Movements in Terms of Success?p. 22
A Typology of Substantive Political Outcomesp. 25
A Typology of Institutional Political Outcomesp. 32
Social Movement Strength, Tactics, and the Viability of Political Goalsp. 38
Social Movement Strengthp. 39
Strategy and Social Movement Outcomesp. 44
Opportunities and Constraints in the Environment of Social Movementsp. 52
The Political Context of Social Movementsp. 53
The Cultural and Economic Context of Social Movementsp. 67
Causal Mechanisms of Political Changep. 72
The Disruption Mechanismp. 73
The Public Preference Mechanismp. 76
The Political Access Mechanismp. 80
The Judicial Mechanismp. 86
The International Politics Mechanismp. 89
The Civil Rights Movement
The Judicial Mechanismp. 97
Constraint I: The Limited Nature of Rightsp. 98
Constraint II: The Lack of Judicial Independencep. 102
Constraint III: The Judiciary's Lack of Powers of Implementationp. 104
The Disruption Mechanismp. 115
Creating Crisis in the South: From Montgomery to Selmap. 116
Creating Crisis in the North: The Ghetto Riotsp. 124
The Political Context of Disruptionp. 133
The Public Preference Mechanismp. 140
Mobilizing Public Opinionp. 141
Explaining Public Opinion on Civil Rights Policiesp. 143
The Impact of Racial Attitudes on Civil Rights Policiesp. 149
The Political Access Mechanismp. 159
Mobilizing for Electoral Empowermentp. 160
The Electoral Empowerment of African Americansp. 161
The Political Impact of African American Electoral Empowermentp. 165
The International Politics Mechanismp. 175
The Role of International Politics in the Struggle of the Civil Rights Movementp. 176
The Effects of the Cold War on Civil Rightsp. 183
Explaining the Leverage of International Politics over the Executive Branchp. 186
The Anti-Nuclear Energy Movement
The Context and Potential Political Impact of Anti-Nuclear Protestp. 193
Operationalizing the Political Impact of the Anti-Nuclear Energy Movementp. 194
Explanatory Hypotheses and the Measurement of Independent Variablesp. 204
Explaining the Political Impact of Anti-Nuclear Energy Movementsp. 216
Anti-Nuclear Mobilization before the Chernobyl Accidentp. 217
The Political Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident on Nuclear Powerp. 229
The Political Impact of Court Action, Mass Disruption, and Public Opinionp. 238
The Judicial Mechanismp. 239
The Disruption Mechanismp. 245
The Public Preference Mechanismp. 252
Summary and Conclusionsp. 274
Social Movements and Political Changep. 274
Insights from Studying the Civil Rights and the Anti-Nuclear Energy Movementsp. 277
Referencesp. 295
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