Culture, Power, and Institutions: A Multi-Institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements

Sociological Theory 26 (1):74 - 99 (2008)
Abstract
We argue that critiques of political process theory are beginning to coalesce into new approach to social movements--a "multi-institutional politics" approach. While the political process model assumes that domination is organized by and around one source of power, the alternative perspective views domination as organized around multiple sources of power, each of which is simultaneously material and symbolic. We examine the conceptions of social movements, politics, actors, goals, and strategies supported by each model, demonstrating that the view of society and power underlying the political process model is too narrow to encompass the diversity of contemporary change efforts. Through empirical examples, we demonstrate that the alternative approach provides powerful analytical tools for the analysis of a wide variety of contemporary change efforts.
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