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Social Movements and the Policy Process

Thomas R. Rochon and Daniel A. Mazmanian
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 528, Citizens, Protest, and Democracy (Jul., 1993), pp. 75-87
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1047792
Page Count: 13
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Social Movements and the Policy Process
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Abstract

Social movements frequently fail to achieve the policy changes they seek, despite impressive demonstrations of widespread support. Yet movement participation has become increasingly popular as a form of political action. The authors seek to resolve this dilemma by distinguishing between three arenas of movement success: changing policy, gaining participation in the policy process, and changing social values. It is suggested that gaining access to the policy process is the most effective path for movement organizations to have an impact on policy outcomes, because authorities are often more willing to offer inclusion in the process than they are to accept movement demands for policy change. The authors' hypotheses are examined in light of the experience of the nuclear freeze movement, which sought and failed to achieve policy change, and the movement to control hazardous wastes, in which environmentalists are having an impact on policy by gaining participation in regulatory and implementation decisions.

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