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Protestors and their Targets

By William A. Gamson

When I think about the distinction between members and challengers, I think of the differences in the adversarial relationship with the target of change. Challengers necessarily have an adversarial relationship with their target who does not recognize them as a legitimate spokesperson for some constituency. Members have a more ambivalent and mixed relationship. Representatives of the target are willing to sit down with them and discuss issues but it remains to be seen whether this leads to genuine change or is simply an attempt at cooptation. The task, for analysts, is to do justice to the variable nature of this relationship and to its changes over time. Continue reading

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