In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Conceptual and Methodological Discussions
  • Structural Outcomes
  • Economic Outcomes

Political Science Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
by
Marco Giugni, Lorenzo Bosi, Katrin Uba
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 July 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0037

Introduction

Scholarship has left the study of the consequences of social movements in the background for a long time, focusing instead on movement emergence, characteristics, and dynamics. Since the mid-1970s, however, scholars have paid an increasing interest in how social movements and protest activities may produce change at various levels. The existing literature can be ordered according to the kind of consequence addressed. In this regard, one can roughly distinguish between political, biographical, and cultural outcomes. Political consequences are those effects of movement activities that alter in some way the movements’ political environment. Biographical consequences are effects on the life course of individuals who have participated in movement activities, effects that are at least in part due to involvement in those activities. Although their contours are less easily defined, cultural outcomes can be seen as the impact that social movements may have in altering their broader cultural environment. The bulk of the existing works have dealt with policy outcomes, which can be considered as a subcategory of political outcomes. Biographical outcomes are less numerous, but they form a substantial and quite coherent body of literature. Cultural outcomes have been studied much less often. More recently, scholars have started to investigate the effects that social movements and protest activities may have on other aspects of society, such as the economy and market-related institutions, or on other movements. In addition, one should also consider the distinction between internal and external outcomes as well as that between intended and unintended consequences. Both distinctions partly crosscut the typology of political, biographical, and cultural outcomes, although one might think of political outcomes as mostly external and more intended, biographical outcomes as mostly internal and unintended, and cultural outcomes as both internal and external and mostly unintended.

General Overviews

A number of works have been published that provide general overviews of the outcomes of social movements and protest activities. Most of these works focus on one specific type of consequence, but Giugni 2008 takes a broader view and addresses political, biographical, and cultural outcomes. Studies dealing with political outcomes have been reviewed—first in Giugni 1998, and then more recently in Amenta, et al. 2019. Passy and Monsch 2019 addresses the literature on biographical outcomes. Earl 2004 and Amenta and Polletta 2019 as well as van Dyke and Taylor 2019 look at works on broader cultural outcomes. Whittier 2004 examines research on the consequences of social movements for each other, or spillover effects. Giugni and Grasso 2019 reviews the growing literature on economic outcomes of social movements and protest activities. An edited collection also deserves to be mentioned as it provides a helpful overview by dealing with different types of outcomes (Bosi, et al. 2016).

  • Amenta, Edwin, Kenneth T. Andrews, and Neal Caren. “The Political Institutions, Processes, and Outcomes Movements Seek to Influence.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly J. McCammon, 449–465. Hoboken, NJ, and Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2019.

    E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the most recent literature on how movements influence state institutions in democratic and partial democratic regimes, looking at such processes as democratization, elections, public opinion, and policymaking and venues such as legislative bodies, political parties, administrative bureaucracies, and courts.

  • Amenta, Edwin, and Francesca Polletta. “The Cultural Impacts of Social Movements.” Annual Review of Sociology 45 (2019): 279–299.

    E-mail Citation »

    A recent review of scholarship on the cultural outcomes of social movements, a still-neglected area of studies. Focuses on research that examines public opinion and everyday behavior; the media and popular culture; nonpolitical institutions such as science, medicine, and education; and politics.

  • Bosi, Lorenzo, Marco Giugni, and Katrin Uba, eds. The Consequences of Social Movements. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

    E-mail Citation »

    One of the still-rare volumes entirely devoted to the outcomes of social movements and protest activities. Covers a variety of types of consequences such as the impact of social movements on the life course of participants and the population in general, on political elites and markets, and on political parties and processes of social movement institutionalization.

  • Earl, Jennifer. “The Cultural Consequences of Social Movements.” In The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi, 508–530. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470999103E-mail Citation »

    A laudable effort to summarize the relatively sparse literature on the cultural outcomes of social movements. Discusses the challenges faced in defining cultural outcomes, the kinds of cultural outcomes uncovered by scholarship, and the explanations of cultural change suggested by research. Offers suggestions for further research.

  • Giugni, Marco. “Was It Worth the Effort? The Outcomes and Consequences of Social Movements.” Annual Review of Sociology 24 (1998): 371–393.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.371E-mail Citation »

    An early review of the existing literature, focusing on political outcomes. Discusses the role of internal factors, such as the movements’ organization and the use of disruptiveness, as well as of external factors, such as public opinion and political opportunity structures in facilitating or preventing movements from obtaining policy gains.

  • Giugni, Marco. “Political, Biographical, and Cultural Consequences of Social Movements.” Sociology Compass 2.5 (2008): 1582–1600.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2008.00152.xE-mail Citation »

    A rare attempt to review relevant works on the consequences of social movements and protest activities by addressing different types of outcomes at the same time. Inevitably a bit cursory on each of them.

  • Giugni, Marco, and Maria T. Grasso. “Economic Outcomes of Social Movements.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. 2d ed. Edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly J. McCammon, 466–481. Hoboken, NJ, and Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2019.

    E-mail Citation »

    A recent review of scholarship on the economic outcomes of social movements, a still-neglected area of studies. Focuses on research that examines explicitly and empirically the economic impact of movements, as well as research that deals with movements and protests that have economic implications in a broader sense.

  • Passy, Florence, and Gian-Andrea Monsch. “Biographical Consequences of Activism.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. 2d ed. Edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly J. McCammon, 499–514. Hoboken, NJ, and Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2019.

    E-mail Citation »

    Provides an updated review of the most recent research on the biographical consequences of activism (social movement, volunteering organizations, and unions), distinguishing between short-term and long-term outcomes and examining whether biographical outcomes are experienced at the individual or the collective level.

  • van Dyke, Nella, and Verta Taylor. “The Cultural Outcomes of Social Movements.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. 2d ed. Edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly J. McCammon, 482–498. Hoboken, NJ, and Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2019.

    E-mail Citation »

    A recent review of scholarship on how social movements may generate a range of cultural outcomes, such as performances, ideations, and artifacts or products. Focuses on researches that examine the kind of culture consequences that have been documented in the social movement scholarship and the factors that have been found to be associated with successful cultural outcomes.

  • Whittier, Nancy. “The Consequences of Social Movements for Each Other.” In The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Edited by David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi, 531–551. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470999103E-mail Citation »

    Provides an overview of scholarship on the consequences of social movements for each other. Discusses the various kinds of effects that movements have on each other as well as the routes and determinants of such effects.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.

Article

Up

Down