Social Movements, Individual Rights, and Democratic Transitions
The main theme of the previous chapters has been the relationship between social movements and individual rights. The opening chapters explored the ways that this relationship is construed in theory and history. This initial review of the literature revealed a cluster of archetypal connections between movements and rights which appear and reappear across disciplines. These connections are often quite abstract, and cannot easily be translated into falsifiable hypotheses ( Popper 1968). But they can be advanced as analytical propositions which serve as a guide to empirical research; and this was the strategy pursued here. Thus, the research design of the subsequent enquiry (Chapters 3, 4, and 5) translated these propositions into numerical statements that were available for statistical analysis (Chapters 6 and 7). In this way, the connections made in theory and history were tested in a contemporary context, and, by and large, were shown to be valid. But the propositions were not only demonstrated, but were demonstrated differently across cases; and it is these differential results that inform the construction of the comparative argument on individual rights and social movements. The making of an argument which is at once well modulated and authentically comparative is the main achievement of the present research.
This final chapter first reviews the principal propositions regarding the relationship between individual rights and social movements, and examines the evidence in their support by summarizing the results of the empirical enquiry and statistical analysis. The review considers the relationship in the separate perspectives of social movement activity and rights provision, before adopting a dual perspective which responds to the mutual influence of rights and movements. The objective is to describe the main contours of the integrated comparative argument, and so bring the research to completion. But the argument clearly has broader implications, and,