Movement Institutions: The Bureaucratic Sources of Feminist Protest
Politics & gender
US : Cambridge University Press
407 - 432 p.
women's movement, social movement, feminism, women's policy agencies, state feminism, institutions, insider activism
Over the past several decades, scholarship on women's movements, feminism, and the state has brought renewed attention to the study of protest politics by questioning its frontier with dominant institutions. This article takes this critique a step further by considering the institutional dimension of the state-movement intersection. Drawing on the French case, we argue that institutions that are formally devoted to women's rights inside the state (women's policy agencies) can operate as movement institutions—that is, as bureaucratic instances routinely engrained with a protest dimension—rather than being only a shelter for a network of insider activists. As such, they can provide a specific, institutional feminist socialization to their members; they can purvey, rather than only relay, feminist protest, and they can deploy institutional repertoires of protest, combining bureaucratic and movement dimensions. We conclude that the definition and boundaries of the women's movement need to be broadened to include bureaucratic sources of feminist protest.