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Can we measure the influence of social movements?

CollectionsANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
Title: Can we measure the influence of social movements?
Author(s): Grey, Sandra
Keywords: social movements
political scientists
mass mobilisations
New Zealand
women's movement
child care
unpaid work
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: Political Science, Research School of Social Science, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Political Science Program Seminar: September 18, 2002
For three decades new social movements have undergone scrutiny from political scientists with much written about why social movements exist and how they attract members. However little has been done on the influence of these mass mobilisations. In this paper I investigate normative and empirical statements about social movements in order to develop a way to measure the influence of these phenomenon. Current social movement literature provides few tools that can be used to measure social movement influence. I will argue that the influence of mass mobilisations on the political realm can be measured using discourse analysis techniques and by looking to public policy literature. I will then test this methodology by looking at the influence of the New Zealand women’s movement on debates surrounding child care and unpaid work.


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