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Mobilizing Women, Mobilizing Gender: is it mobilizing difference?

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Abstract:

This article examines political activism in the United States to evaluate the extent to which the mobilization of women involves a mobilization of difference, with an attendant goal of building a more inclusive polity and citizenship. The analysis is based on an extensive survey of political attitudes and behaviors in four medium-sized cities in the western United States and on the political opportunity structures within the cities. While it appears that gendered experiences and an idea of difference may motivate women to become involved in community and political activism, the patterns of their activism do not differ dramatically from those of men and no separate 'spaces of politics' for women seem to have been constructed through their activism. I argue that political opportunity structures--the institutions, ideas, and organizations--within the four localities play an important role in channeling women's activism. These findings suggest the importance of considering the contexts in which political identities and activities are given meaning and through which political communities are constructed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0966369042000258677

Affiliations: Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado Boulder

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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