Elites, Policy and Social Movements
Pettinicchio, David. 2017. "Elites, Policy and Social Movements," in Barbara Wejnert and Paolo Parigi (eds.) Research in Political Sociology volume 24, Emerald Publishing Group Limited.
36 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2016 Last revised: 26 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 17, 2016
Given the growing interest in social movements as policy agenda setters, this paper investigates the contexts within which movement groups and actors work with political elites to promote their common goals for policy change. In asking how and why so-called outsiders gain access to elites and to the policymaking process, I address several contemporary theoretical and empirical concerns associated with policy change as a social movement goal. I examine the claim that movements use a multipronged, long-term strategy by working with and targeting policymakers and political institutions on the one hand, while shaping public preferences - hearts and minds - on the other; that these efforts are not mutually exclusive. In addition, I look at how social movement organizations and actors are critical in expanding issue conflict outside narrow policy networks, often encouraged to do so by political elites with similar policy objectives. And, I discuss actors’ mobility in transitioning from institutional activists to movement and organizational leaders, and even to protesters, and vice versa. The interchangeability of roles among actors promoting social change in strategic action fields points to the porous and fluid boundaries between state and nonstate actors and organizations.
Keywords: Social movements, policy, institutional activists, political entrepreneurs, policy communities, strategic action fields
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