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On Law, Organizations and Social Movements

Lauren B. Edelman, Gwendolyn Leachman and Doug McAdam.  2010.  “On Law, Organizations and Social Movements.  Annual Review of Law and Social Science 6:653-85.

This review examines the complex interplay among social movements, organizations, and law. Although the sociological literature has recently been attentive to each pair of two of these social arenas—that is, to social movements and organizations, to organizations and law, and to law and social movements—there has been no effort to theorize the relationship among all three of them. We review the literature on each pair of institutions and then suggest ways in which insights about the omitted institution might inform extant work. Finally, we offer a new framework for examining social movements, organizations, and law together. Envisioning the three social arenas as overlapping and mutually constitutive social fields, we suggest that institutional change may occur when exogenous shocks produce contention and settlement in adjacent fields or when endogenous motion occurs as ideas within one field gradually influence practices in adjacent fields.

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