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Political Movements and State Authority in Liberal Democracies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2011

Thomas R. Rochon
Affiliation:
Claremont Graduate School

Abstract

Political movements are an increasingly common form of mass political mobilization, and the legitimacy and authority of democratic states depends to a growing extent on the relationship between movements and states. Existing case studies of political movements neglect that relationship in favor of issues of mobilization, organization, and societal impact. These studies can nonetheless be used to show that political movements employ a mixture of confrontation and collaboration in their relationship to the state. More centralized states, which offer fewer institutional channels for movement influence, face more confrontational movements. However, political movements in all democratic settings use confrontation primarily as a strategic device to enhance their leverage in negotiations with state authorities. Movements are not a challenge to state authority so much as they are a force for change within democratic society.

Type
Review Article
Information
World Politics , Volume 42 , Issue 2 , January 1990 , pp. 299 - 313
Copyright
Copyright © Trustees of Princeton University 1990

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References

1 Kaase, Max and Marsh, Alan, “Political Action Repertory,” in Barnes, Samuel and Kaase, Max, eds., Political Action (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Press, 1979), 157Google Scholar.

2 See, among others, Crozier, Michel, Huntington, Samuel, and Watanuki, Joji, The Crisis ofDemocracy (New York: New York University Press, 1975)Google Scholar; Berger, Suzanne, “Politics and Antipolitics in Western Europe in the Seventies,” Daedalus 108 (Winter 1979), 2750Google Scholar; Habermas, Jtirgen, Legitimation Crisis (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975)Google Scholar; and Claus Offe, “Ungovernabil-ity: The Renaissance of Conservative Theories of Crisis,” chap. 2 in his Contradictions of the Welfare State (London: Hutchinson, 1984).

3 LeBon, Gustave, The Crowd (London: E. Benn Ltd., 1930)Google Scholar; Gurr, Ted Robert, Why Men Rebel (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970)Google Scholar. For an overview of this literature, see Gurney, Joan and Tierney, Kathleen, “Relative Deprivation and Social Movements: A Critical Look at Twenty Years of Theory and Research,” Sociological Quarterly 23 (Winter 1982), 3347CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Prominent works in this tradition include McCarthy, John and Zald, Mayer, “Resource Mobilization and Social Movements: A Partial Theory,” American Journal of Sociology 82 (May 1977), 1212–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lipsky, Michael, “Protest as a Political Resource,” American Political Science Review 62 (December 1968), 1144–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar; McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Blacl{ Insurgency, 1930–1970 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982)Google Scholar; and Tarrow, Sidney, Struggle, Politics, and Reform (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989)Google Scholar.

5 Vol. 2 of the JAI series devotes the final two of its sixteen chapters to the effectiveness of movements in influencing policy. See Klandermans, Bert, ed., Organizing for Change: Social Movement Organizations in Europe and the United States (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1989)Google Scholar.

6 Karl-Werner Brand, Detlev Busser, and Dieter Rucht, Aufbruch in eine andere Gesell-schaft: Neue soziale Bewegungen in der Bundesrepublik [Breakthrough to another society: New social movements in the Federal Republic of Germany] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1983); Joachim Raschke, Soziale Bewegungen: Ein historisch-systematischer Grundriss [Social movements: A historical-theoretical framework] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1985); Karl-Werner Brand, Neue soziale Bewegungen in Westeuropa und den USA [New social movements in Western Europe and the United States] (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1985); Offe, Claus, “New Social Movements: Challenging the Boundaries of Institutional Politics,” Social Research 52 (Winter 1985), 817–68Google Scholar; and the other articles in the same issue of Social Research.

7 See also Tarrow, Sidney, “National Politics and Collective Action: Recent Theory and Research in Western Europe and the United States,” Annual Review of Sociology 14 (1988), 421–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Dalton, Russell and Küchler, Manfred, eds., Challenging the Political Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)Google Scholar.

8 The process described by Apter and Sawa is similar to the dynamic of crisis and compensation analyzed by Calder, Kent in Crisis and Compensation: Public Policy and Political Stability in Japan, 1949–1956 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988)Google Scholar. See also Samuels, Richard, The Politics of Regional Policy in Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Reed, Steven, Japanese Prefectures and Policymafyng (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986)Google Scholar.

9 A similar point is made by Kitschelt, Herbert, “Political Opportunity Structures and Political Protest: Antinuclear Movements in Four Democracies,” British Journal of Political Sci ence 16 (January 1986), 5785CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Rochon, Thomas R., Mobilizing for Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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