Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An organizational theory of social movement success in a transnational context
by Deo, Nandini, Ph.D., Yale University, 2007, 238; 3293404
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation proposes an organizational theory to explain the success of social movements. Coherent organizational structures within the movement, integrated organizing strategies to recruit new members, and autonomy from transnational networks lead to successful social movements. The theory develops through an extended comparison of a religious nationalist and a feminist movement in India. This model explains variation in success over time as it draws attention to organizational aspects of social movements.

The major finding is that the success of a social movement depends on mundane community activism rather than networks of transnational activists or framing of ideas. Social movements that have clear channels of communication and cooperation among the various organizations that constitute the movement are more likely to be successful at developing a public agenda. Movements that invest time and money in local communities are better able to recruit new supporters. Their cooperative organizational structure enables them to match new recruits with appropriate organizations and activities so as to sustain commitment through engagement. Transnational networks are most important as sources of financial aid for Southern social movements. Fundraising based on individual contributions allows organizations to remain flexible and responsive to local communities. Fundraising through institutional donors runs the risk of agenda capture by transnational networks and fragmentation within the movement as a result of competition for funds.

The data are drawn from fieldwork in South Asia and the United States of America. Interviews, primary documents of social movement organizations, and participant observation techniques are used. This study provides a framework to study social movements in comparative, historical perspective and addresses the more general question of successful social transformation. The study also provides practical implications for the management of civic associations that are part of a social movement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Scott, James C.
Commitee:
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 68/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Political science, Organizational behavior, Organization theory, Gender
Keywords: Feminism, India, Organizing, Sangh Parivar, Social movements, Transnational
Publication Number: 3293404
ISBN: 978-0-549-37358-2
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