Citizenship Rights and Social Movements: A Comparative and Statistical Analysis

By Joe Foweraker; Todd Landman | Go to book overview
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Introduction
Citizenship Rights and Social Movements

Objectives and Scope

The principal focus of this enquiry is the relationship between the individual rights of citizenship and social movement activity. Its main aim is to discover the mutual influence of citizenship rights and social movements over and through time. Its specific objective is to measure this influence and compare it across cultures. Its method requires the construction of a parsimonious model that can sustain systematic research and support substantive interpretation. Its primary achievement is the construction of a consistently comparative argument that is modulated by the results of the statistical analysis.

Beyond the specific aims of the enquiry, it addresses two large social scientific literatures which do not usually 'talk to each other'. There is a large literature on social movements, which tends to divide between high-flown theorizing and specific case studies. There is also a large literature on individual rights, which tends to be confined either to political philosophy or to specialized but nontheoretical studies of human rights. But there are relatively few comparative studies of either social movements or rights, and, to the best of our knowledge, no such study of the relationship between them over time. A systematic and comparative study of this relationship may therefore add a new dimension to both literatures.

The enquiry reaches beyond the confines of welfare capitalism, or the liberal democratic polities associated with developed capitalist countries, to political cultures where the integrity and freedom of the individual is still a primary political concern, and where the individual rights of citizenship are far from being secure. It is our contention that the relationship between social movements and individual rights can best be explored in the political context of these modern authoritarian regimes. Certainly the choice of such regimes influences the construction of citizenship rights as an object of comparative research. Broadly speaking, citizenship is disaggregated into three discrete research objects which are, first, the

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