University of Michigan Press

CAWP Series in Gender and Politics

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CAWP Series in Gender and Politics

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The Changing Face of Representation

The Gender of U.S. Senators and Constituent Communications

Kim L. Fridkin and Patrick J. Kenney

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The Paradox of Gender Equality

How American Women's Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice

Kristin A. Goss

Drawing on original research, Kristin A. Goss examines how women's civic place has changed over the span of more than 120 years, how public policy has driven these changes, and why these changes matter for women and American democracy. Suffrage, which granted women the right to vote and invited their democratic participation, provided a dual platform for the expansion of women's policy agendas. As measured by women's groups' appearances before the U.S. Congress, women's collective political engagement continued to grow between 1920 and 1960—when many conventional accounts claim it declined—and declined after 1980, when it might have been expected to grow. This waxing and waning was accompanied by major shifts in issue agendas, from broad public interests to narrow feminist interests. Goss suggests that ascriptive differences are not necessarily barriers to disadvantaged groups' capacity to be heard; that enhanced political inclusion does not necessarily lead to greater collective engagement; and that rights movements do not necessarily constitute the best way to understand the political participation of marginalized groups. She asks what women have gained — and perhaps lost — through expanded incorporation as well as whether single-sex organizations continue to matter in 21st-century America.

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When Protest Makes Policy

How Social Movements Represent Disadvantaged Groups

S. Laurel Weldon

This is a bold and exciting book. There are many fine scholars who look at women's movements, political theorists who make claims about democracy, and policy analysts who do longitudinal treatments or cross-sectional evaluations of various policies. I know of no one, aside from Weldon, who is comfortable with all three of these roles. ---David Meyer, University of California, Irvine What role do social movements play in a democracy? In When Protest Makes Policy, political theorist S. Laurel Weldon demonstrates that social movements provide a hitherto unrecognized and untheorized form of democratic representation and thus offer significant potential for deepening democracy and overcoming social conflict. Through a series of case studies of movements conducted by women, women of color, and workers in the United States and in the OECD countries, Weldon examines processes of representation at the local, state, and national levels. She concludes that, for systematically disadvantaged groups, social movements are just as important as---if not more important than---political parties, interest groups, and the physical presence of group members in legislatures. Indeed, Weldon argues, the effectiveness of social movements suggests that we ought to promote them through public policy. Yet using government policy to catalyze what must be independent movements is a tricky business, fraught with tensions. Weldon proposes that one way to spark such movements is the creation of an advocacy state: a state aimed at furthering the mobilization of marginalized groups both within the governing bodies and in civil society. She concludes with specific policy recommendations for improving the representation of marginalized groups. S. Laurel Weldon is Professor of political science at Purdue University.

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