Tag Archives: movement outcomes

Legal Mobilization and Policy Enforcement: A Tale of Two Policies and Two Movements?

Scholars have long debated the role of social movements in changing policy outcomes – whether and how do they matter. Policies can also create political opportunities for social movements. Policies empower historically disadvantaged groups and provide them with the tools and resources to mobilize their rights. Indeed, as David Meyer put it, scholars often grapple with the “chicken-and-egg” problem of policy and mobilization; that is, which comes first? Thinking about this alleged paradox raises questions about the role of social movements following legislative “victories.”

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Informing Activists: In what ways do social movements make a difference?

Thomas Elliott

In what ways do social movements make a difference?

Recommended Readings:

Classic:

Amenta, E., Carruthers, B. G., & Zylan, Y. 1992. “A hero for the aged? The Townsend Movement, the political mediation model, and US old-age policy, 1934-1950.” American Journal of Sociology, 98(2):308-339.

Review:

Giugni, M. G. 1998. “Was it worth the effort? The outcomes and consequences of social movements.” Annual review of sociology, 24:371-393.

Contemporary:

Biggs, M., & Andrews, K. T. 2015. Protest Campaigns and Movement Success Desegregating the US South in the Early 1960s. American Sociological Review, 80(2):416-443.

For more research on the outcomes of social movements, check out this searchable, sortable database of outcomes research.


We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.

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Informing Activists: How/When do movements make a political difference?

Political consequences of social movements is a big topic, and has received a large amount of scholarly attention. As a result, there’s a lot to discuss. We are grateful that Katrin Uba has provided an extensive overview of how movements make a political difference. We’ve divided this discussion into multiple videos by topic, all of which can be found below.

Katrin Uba

Introduction to Political Consequences

How does the political context impact my campaign’s success?

Which strategies are more successful politically?

Who should I target for political success?

Conclusion

Recommended Readings:

Classic:

McCammon, Holly J., Karen E. Campbell, Ellen M. Granberg and Christine Mowery. 2001. “How Movements Win: Gendered Opportunity Structures and U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movements, 1866 to 1919.” American Sociological Review 66(1):49-70.

Review:

Amenta, Edwin and Neal Caren. 2004. “The Legislative, Organizational, and Beneficiary Consequences of State-Oriented Challengers.” Pp. 461-88 in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule and H. Kriesi. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Contemporary:

Uba, Katrin. 2009. “The contextual dependence of movement outcomes: a simplified meta-analysis.” Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 14(4), 433-448.

For more research on the outcomes of social movements, check out this searchable, sortable database of outcomes research.


We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.

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Informing Activists: How/When do movements affect culture?

Jennifer Earl

How/When do movements affect culture?

Recommended Readings:

Classic

Gamson, William A. 1998. “Social Movements and Cultural Change.” in From Contention to Democracy, edited by M. G. Giugni, D. McAdam and C. Tilly. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Review

Earl, Jennifer. 2004. “The Cultural Consequences of Social Movements.” Pp. 508-30 in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule and H. Kriesi. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Contemporary

Snow, D., Tan, A., & Owens, P. 2013. Social movements, framing processes, and cultural revitalization and fabrication. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 18(3):225-242.

For more research on the outcomes of social movements, check out this searchable, sortable database of outcomes research.


We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their support of the Youth Activism Project through the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.

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The ADA at 25: Why Movements Matter Following Legislative “Victories”

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The Disability Pride Parade in New York City, July 2015

Movement scholars have become increasingly interested in the ways in which social movements directly shape the policy agenda; that is, what role they play in how issues gain prominence in the government and how these issues get framed. Much of the focus has been on the relationship between increasing movement activity, such as organizational expansion, protest and lobbying, and increasing resources government allocates to an issue.

However, less is known about the link between movement mobilization and actual legislative promises once policies are enacted, especially in light of subsequent demobilization and issue decline. It’s important to draw attention to this less developed area of study given the renewed interest in defining successful social change and whether movements are themselves successful in influencing these (policy) outcomes.

Take for instance, the case of disability employment anti-discrimination legislation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was proclaimed the “emancipation proclamation” for people with disabilities and the most significant civil rights law since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Not surprisingly, it was seen as an important victory for disability advocates in the government and for the disability rights movement. But, in a recent op-ed for USA Today, I argued that when it comes to employment and earnings outcomes, the ADA has failed to deliver. Continue reading

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Sociology’s Nero Syndrome?

By Jackie Smith

Social movement scholarship has failed to help us understand and address the most urgent crisis of our time.

We are currently watching the unfolding of a climate emergency. Despite the high degree of scientific consensus about the causes and consequences of global warming,[1] governments have failed—over more than 20 years of negotiations—to take any meaningful steps to limit global warming or mitigate its impacts. In fact, as the scientific evidence about climate change has become more certain and substantial, governments remain polarized and paralyzed, failing to even curtail the growth of—much less reduce—greenhouse gas emissions. Intergovernmental negotiations resemble a re-arranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic, as governments remain deadlocked in debates over market-based mechanisms to limit emissions and mitigate impacts of warming, refusing to acknowledge that the market system itself drives climate change.

But social movement scholarship has little to add to what we know about why we’ve seen little change in regard to global climate policy. Why is this? I suggest that there are three reasons. Continue reading

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The Unseen Effectiveness of Social Movements and Protests

by Jolan Hsieh

The media has portrayed current Asian demonstrations, such as the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong and the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, as unsuccessful because the protesters’ requests have not been met. By another measurement, the awareness of issues and recognition of the power possible by targeted and collective peaceful action, they have been very effective.

The long-term residual effectiveness of the Asian movements and other protests across the globe authentically can be measured only in small increments with some of the most significant and basic results at this point not always visible but rather felt at a deeper level of understanding. Protests are influencing people to change their beliefs, mindsets, and attitudes which are psychologically the most difficult elements to modify, but which ultimately are the most potent factors in creating authentic social change. The evidence is that more and more people in increasing numbers of nations are expressing dissenting opinions and demonstrating their right to be heard regarding issues affecting their lives.

Nov. 1, 2014 - Lennon Wall Hong Kong

Nov. 1, 2014 – Lennon Wall Hong Kong

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