A Bounded Repertoire
Culture binds social movements.1 For IISMs, tactical options for reaching movement goals are bound by the culture of the targeted institution. This can happen in myriad ways: the influence of the cultural code of institutional behavior (the “tools” available in the cultural toolkit), the limits presented by how authority traditionally operates in the institution, or the intense negotiations and identity politics dictating who qualifies as an authentic insider. Power operates differently in different institutional contexts; learning and knowing (perhaps intimately) how power operates in the targeted institution gives movement activists the ability to choose tactics that match and challenge the current power structure of the targeted institution. Participants already know the rules of the game, therefore they know better how to play the game or alter it to reach movement goals.
The institution will also provide institutionally specific expectations for what tactics are most and least acceptable. As Armstrong and Bernstein (2008) point out in describing a multi-institutional politics approach to social movements, “What counts as disruptive will thus depend on the rules of ‘doing business’ in any given institution” (p. 92). This is especially evident in religious institutions, where an IISM may embrace tactics less common or seemingly less aggressive that those chosen by other types of social movements. Moving within the institution changes the rules of the game; IISMs must adapt their tactical repertoire to match their