Exploring the Social Movements Institutionalization Thesis: The Case of Feminist, Ecologist, and LGTB Activism in Catalonia

By Gerard Coll-Planas and Marta Cruells.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 23, 2017 $US5.00

According to the institutionalization thesis, organizations representing social movements inexorably evolve toward a higher degree of internal structuring, greater distancing between bases and leaders, and moderating their demands and action repertoire. The fieldwork which we have carried out on three social movements in Catalonia (Spain) leads us to question issues raised by this thesis such as the concept of linear development, irreversibility, or underlying political standpoints that are exclusively State based. Furthermore, we consider it necessary to reflect on the possible key factors that can explain the complex relationship between social movements and public institutions in the context of three main changes that took place in Western democracies: the State’s acceptance of demands and discourses of the social movements, the restructuring of the welfare state, and changes in the State’s decision-making processes.

Keywords: Social Movements, Institutionalization, Ecology, Feminism, LGBT, Democracy

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.25-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 23, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 629.912KB)).

Gerard Coll-Planas

Director, Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia, Vic, Spain

Marta Cruells

Researcher, Institute of Government and Public Policy, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain