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"Social Movements and the Changing Structure of Political Opportunity in the European Community"

Marks, Gary, and McAdam, Doug. (1995) "Social Movements and the Changing Structure of Political Opportunity in the European Community". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    [From the introduction]. Our general argument is straightforward: to the extent that European integration results in the replacement, or, more likely, the decline in the importance of the nation-state as the exclusive seat of formal political power, we can expect attendant changes in those forms of interest aggregation/articulation historically linked to the state. In addition to the modern social movement, these forms would include trade unions and interest groups. In the examples to be discussed below, we will confine ourselves to social movements, but we want to stress that the dynamic we are sketching applies to &l "challenging groups," irrespective of their form. Here we are not merely making the standard definitional point that the boundaries between these forms--social movements, parties, public interest lobbies, and unions--are inherently fuzzy. Rather we are arguing that the conceptual coherence of these categories is itself historically contingent and, in light of current trends, increasingly problematic. That is, the distinctions that we associate with these forms are inextricably linked to the historic rise and refinement of a national system of politics within which these distinctions were negotiated and subsequently institutionalized. So the generic labor union exists as a distinct form and coherent political entity only within the context of the nationstate. And if, indeed, institutionalized power is shifting away from the nation-state, then we would do well to relax the conceptual boundaries between these historically circumscribed political forms. Just as guilds, religious orders and other politico-organizational artifacts of the ancien regime had no standing in the emerging nation-state, neither do the rigid distinctions between interest groups and social movements mean much in the context of EU. All stand in much the same relationship to the integration process. They share the status of "challenging groups" which hope to contest and shape the emerging institutions and philosophy of the European Union.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > lobbying/interest representation
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > unions
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2008
    Page Range: p. 55
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:47

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