“Are You One of Those Women?” Within-Movement Conflict, Radical Flank Effects, and Social Movement Political Outcomes


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Studies of social movement outcomes rarely consider the impact of conflict between groups within movements on the ability of movement actors to achieve their political goals. In this examination of the Texas women’s movement from the late 1950s until the early 1970s, we consider the role of within-movement conflict as organized women worked to gain an Equal Legal Rights Amendment. Our analysis reveals that conflict within movements can benefit activists by fueling a radical flank effect and, in the end, helping activists achieve important political goals. Our study also reveals the agency of movement actors as one group distances itself from another to seek political elite support. Such efforts can help activists open largely closed political opportunity structures. We conclude that researchers studying movement political outcomes should consider the potentially beneficial role of within-movement conflict.

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