Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image

Routing the Opposition: Social Movements, Public Policy, and Democracy

David S. Meyer
Valerie Jenness
Helen Ingram
Volume: 23
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 328
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Routing the Opposition
    Book Description:

    Capturing both successes and failures, Routing the Opposition focuses on strategies that transform social movements and guide the development of public policy, revealing what happens when the different organizational cultures of activists and public policy makers interact. Contributors: Edwin Amenta, Lee Ann Banaszak, Frank R. Baumgartner, Ryken Grattet, Mrill Ingram, Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, Christine Mahoney, John D. McCarthy, Suzanne Mettler, Ellen Reese.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9674-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction. Social Movements and Public Policy: Eggs, Chicken, and Theory
    (pp. 1-26)
    David S. Meyer

    There were all kinds of good reasons to oppose U.S. participation in the Vietnam War in 1965, and as the war escalated, opponents found increasingly good reasons to take to the streets to make their claims. In July 1965, Lyndon Johnson announced that he would intensify the U.S. commitment to South Vietnam, increasing its military presence by nearly fifty thousand troops, necessitating more aggressive use of the military draft. The draft turned a distant issue,¹ the war in Vietnam, into a proximate one, and stoked the fledgling antiwar movement. The draft provided a focus for the antiwar movement as well...

  5. Part I. Context Matters and Patterns of Influence:: Agendas and Alliances

      (pp. 27-28)
      David S. Meyer

      Following the logic of the introduction, this part focuses on the explicit connections between the state and challenging social movements. These chapters start with explicit consideration of the rules, routines, and structure of American political institutions. Taken together, they also suggest a sequence of political development over the fifty or so years covered here. The major point unifying all of them is that the notion that social movements are completely separate from the state doesn’t really describe reality. Rather, movement actors are deeply intertwined with policy makers inside the state—or at least portions of government. Policy makers incorporatesome...

    • 1 Political Contexts, Challenger Strategies, and Mobilization: Explaining the Impact of the Townsend Plan
      (pp. 29-64)
      Edwin Amenta

      Social movements typically mobilize resources and engage in collective action in order to make an impact. Recently scholars have attempted to go beyond understanding mobilization to explain these impacts, often focusing on state-oriented consequences, especially those regarding public policy, yet little progress has been made in theorizing and studying these consequences (Giugni 1998). Given the number of actors involved and the complexity of political contexts, establishing the causal influence of any challenger has proved difficult, and it is even more difficult to appraise theoretical arguments about the consequences of challengers.

      In this chapter I confront these theoretical and methodological issues....

    • 2 Social Movements, the Rise of New Issues, and the Public Agenda
      (pp. 65-86)
      Frank R. Baumgartner and Christine Mahoney

      The agenda of the U.S. government has changed dramatically in the period since World War II. Much of the impetus for this change has come from social movements and the organizations they have spawned. Any number of examples can demonstrate the truth of that assertion, from women’s rights to the rights of the handicapped, environmental protection, and other areas. Similarly, there is no doubt that public policies channel the future participation and attitudes of established social movements and the organizations that spring from them. But how can we demonstrate these links systematically? To say that social movements often cause large...

    • 3 Velcro Triangles: Elite Mobilization of Local Antidrug Issue Coalitions
      (pp. 87-116)
      John D. McCarthy

      Scholars of contemporary U.S. social movements vigorously debate the extent to which movements actually affect specific social policies. Nevertheless, there is a pretty broad consensus among these scholars that much of what citizens groups do as they try to bring about social change is aimed, directly or indirectly, at influencing the behavior of government actors and the content of public policies. Reflecting the key features of historical accounts of the emergence of national social movements in the nineteenth century, social movements have been conceived by most contemporary scholars as consisting of independent groups of citizens who join together to make...

  6. Part II. The Social Movement—State Nexus:: The Structure and Consequences of Interpenetration

      (pp. 117-120)
      Valerie Jenness

      Social movement scholars and scholars of public policy have traditionally divided the social-political world between “insiders” and “outsiders” in order to develop an understanding of the complex relationship between social movements, the state, and public policy. Insiders are those located firmly within governmental institutions; by virtue of being most proximate to the policy-making process, they are most strategically located to determine the contours of public policy. Insiders are state bureaucrats, politicians, and others who, quite literally, write public policy. In sharp contrast, outsiders are those at least one step removed from the formal governing process; nonetheless, they try to influence...

    • 4 Creating Credible Edibles: The Organic Agriculture Movement and the Emergence of U.S. Federal Organic Standards
      (pp. 121-148)
      Mrill Ingram and Helen Ingram

      When the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed rules on organic food production for public comment in 1997, the response was very large—and largely negative. In the months following the release and invitation to comment, over a quarter of a million letters, postcards, and e-mails poured in from individuals, farmers, traders, environmentalists, scientists, and consumers, marking the largest public response ever to any USDA proposed regulations. What captured the attention of so many who commented on the draft rule was the inclusion of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), irradiation, and sewage sludge as acceptable organic practice....

    • 5 Inside and Outside the State: Movement Insider Status, Tactics, and Public Policy Achievements
      (pp. 149-176)
      Lee Ann Banaszak

      These two renditions—one oriented toward the movement and one toward the policy—tracing the beginnings of the second wave of the women’s movement, highlight the role of the Kennedy administration, particularly the assistant secretary of labor, Esther Peterson, as crucial in aiding and inspiring future mobilization. However, there are two very different views on how to interpret this event from a social movement perspective. The first and more common view is to see the Kennedy administration’s action as an opening in the structure of political opportunities. Kennedy, in an attempt to woo and keep women supporters for the Democratic...

    • 6 The Policy Nexus: Professional Networks and the Formulation and Adoption of Workers’ Compensation Reforms
      (pp. 177-206)
      Ryken Grattet

      Scholarship on social movements and public policy exist as largely isolated enterprises (Meyer, introduction to this volume). They rely on different theoretical languages, concepts, and motivating questions, and individual studies in one field of scholarship rarely cite work in the other field (some exceptions are Burstein 1998, 1999; Amenta 1998; Amenta and Halfmann 2000). This is surprising given that social movements frequently focus on public policy to define some set of putative conditions as a social problem and given that public policy is frequently the product of social movement activism. In many ways, this gap represents the linchpin of this...

  7. Part III. The Nature of the Field:: Impacts on Participation, Mobilization, and Identity

      (pp. 207-210)
      Helen Ingram

      If the reciprocal relationships between public policy and social movements are like that of kettle drums whose separate voices roll together in overlapping waves of sound, then the theme of the three chapters in this part of the book is like the rumbling reverberations of such drumming that spread over time and distance. The interacting consequences of policy and social movements are both immediate and remote. For example, the opportunity structures or lack of them provided by policy for social movements are the most proximate of the reciprocal relationships. These are explored in parts II and III. As the three...

    • 7 Policy Feedback Effects for Collective Action: Lessons from Veterans’ Programs
      (pp. 211-235)
      Suzanne Mettler

      The prospect of analyzing veterans and social movements in a single essay might strike many readers as paradoxical. Social movements are understood as “contentious politics,” politics oriented toward change, typically in the direction of expanding democracy. By contrast, veterans are often associated, at least by younger generations, with “politics as usual,” protection of the status quo, and the inherently hierarchical institutions of the military.

      Such stereotypes of veterans are historically contingent, deeply influenced by the legacy of veterans’ status within public policies. This essay explores programs geared toward veterans over time and suggests that policy designs have been highly consequential...

    • 8 Rights without Citizenship: Activist Politics and Prison Reform in the United States
      (pp. 236-258)
      Mary Fainsod Katzenstein

      In an episode of life imitating art,¹ a Sing Sing corrections officer in New York State demanded that an inmate who had been shielding a cat and newborn kittens in his cell dispose of them in the trash compactor. When the inmate refused, the guard tossed the animals in the compactor himself. A New York county court judge sentenced the corrections officer to a one-year prison term. In another incident, this in Kansas, correctional officers were assessed $15,000 in compensatory and $30,000 in punitive damages after allegedly using excessive force to make a sixty-year-old prisoner stand rather than sit in...

    • 9 Policy Threats and Social Movement Coalitions: California’s Campaign to Restore Legal Immigrants’ Rights to Welfare
      (pp. 259-287)
      Ellen Reese

      According to T. H. Marshall’s classic model, the development of democracy involves the development of social as well as civil and political rights. Social rights “range from the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilized human being according to the standards prevailing in the society” (Marshall 1950, 3). It is precisely these rights that were gutted by the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Along with introducing time limits and stronger work...

  8. Conclusion. Social Movements, Public Policy, and Democracy: Rethinking the Nexus
    (pp. 288-306)
    Valerie Jenness, David S. Meyer and Helen Ingram

    Social movements, public policy, and democracy interact and develop around us. As we write, in December 2004, the issue of same-sex marriage occupies a prominent place on the political agenda at multiple levels of government. The executive and legislative branches of government have politicized the definition of marriage in the United States, as have candidates for office. Local elected officials have solemnized marriages, in violation of state laws, while judges at the state level have pronounced judgments, not always favorable, on the constitutionality of those laws. The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging the decision of the...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 307-310)
  10. Index
    (pp. 311-319)