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Democracy, Ideology, and Congenital Inequality in Social Movement Organizations

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posted on 2008-12-11, 00:00 authored by Austin David Choi-Fitzpatrick
Leaders are crucial to social movement mobilization and maintenance. They often experience conflict between an (implicit or explicit) value for inclusive engagement that 'draw on the concerns and energies of all' as a sense that they are moving efficiently toward their organizations' end goals. This study draws on a multi-site ethnography to illustrate how leaders may resolve this conflict by appearing democratic while still exercising explicit or implicit undemocratic control over organizational processes and outcomes. Resolving tension in this way has the unintended effect of stifling the actual process of democratic participation, effectively excluding new and potentially valuable resources and mobilizing strategies. It is additionally proposed that democracy is an intransigent institution and value; that efficiency may not be some groups' core motivation' and that power and ideology are neither anomalous nor eradicable, but lay at the heart of democracy and are constitutive of its practice. The congenitally undemocratic nature of social movement groups, and the strategies deployed to cover the subsequent democratic deficit deserve further investigation.

History

Date Modified

2017-06-05

Research Director(s)

Rory McVeigh

Committee Members

Ernesto Verdeja Daniel J. Myers Robert Fishman

Degree

  • Master of Arts

Degree Level

  • Master's Thesis

Language

  • English

Alternate Identifier

etd-12112008-224211

Publisher

University of Notre Dame

Program Name

  • Sociology

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