Democracy from Below: New Social Movements and the Political System in West Germany

Democracy from Below: New Social Movements and the Political System in West Germany

Democracy from Below: New Social Movements and the Political System in West Germany

Democracy from Below: New Social Movements and the Political System in West Germany

Synopsis

West Germany is generally considered the country where new social movements addressing themes such as ecology, peace, and women's rights found their strongest and most pronounced expression. This book shows how new social movements were shaped by the nature and development of the West German political system and how, in turn, these movements have made an important contribution to the consolidation and deepening of democracy in Germany. Democracy from Below is based on an elaboration of the political process approach to social movements. This perspective emphasizes the constraining and facilitating role of political opportunities provided by "established" politics for the mobilization of social movements as well as the embeddedness of individual social movements within broader waves of protest. Koopmans bases his study on new, extensive data on more than 3,000 protest events between 1965 and 1989 and on the characteristics of the most important organizations of the new social movements. The book also has a strong comparative focus, contrasting the West German case to similar data on social movement mobilization in France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Democracy from Below will be of interest not only to students of social movements but also to those interested in comparative politics and contemporary German politics. In addition, social movement activists interested in questions of strategy and tactics will find the book useful.
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