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Journal Article

A Comparative Anatomy of Urban Social Conflict

Elaine B. Sharp
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 261-280
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
DOI: 10.2307/448957
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/448957
Page Count: 20
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A Comparative Anatomy of Urban Social Conflict
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Abstract

This study explores local government's roles in "culture wars"-i.e., morals-based controversies such as those involving abortion clinic protest, anti-pornography crusades, debates over the extension of civil rights protections to gays, and regulation of hate group activities. Three particular roles are highlighted for analysis: hyperactive responsiveness, entrepreneurial instigation, and repression. Both deductive and inductive approaches are used to develop a viable set of hypotheses linking the appearance of those roles to variation in local governing institutions. The rational choice approach to the new institutionalism provides an analytical framework which, when coupled with insights from the study of social movements and local political entrepreneurs, allows for the derivation of hypotheses. Comparative analysis of cases of culture war controversy are used as plausibility probes to ground and further refine the hypotheses.

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