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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how social movements have influenced institutional politics—with particular reference to dissent—in America. The chapter looks at the process of political institutionalization offered by the American political system to various claimants. It considers how American politics helped perpetrate inclusion and influence, and how historic movements have responded to those opportunities. It then describes four distinct social movements in America: feminism and women’s rights, civil rights and abolition of slavery, labor movement, and environmentalism. It argues that these movements are not self-contained and insular, but interconnected in the way they affect one another, American political institutions, and other social movement challenges. It also discusses five interrelated ways through which the process of institutionalization takes place: individuals, ideas, laws, new bureaucratic institutions, and formal recognition as nongovernmental organizations. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the ongoing development of social movements as a recurrent feature in American politics.

Keywords: social movements, institutional politics, dissent, America, feminism, women’s rights, civil rights, abolition, labor movement, environmentalism

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