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    From Revolution to Devolution: A Social Movements Analysis of the Contemporary Women's Movement in Ireland


    Connolly, Linda (1997) From Revolution to Devolution: A Social Movements Analysis of the Contemporary Women's Movement in Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This study analyses the evolution of the contemporary women's movement in the Republic of Ireland, from the foundation of the State to the present day. Drawing on a social movement's perspective, the emergence, consolidation and transformation of the Women's Movement in that period is explored. To date, there has been no systematic attempt at understanding the central processes and dynamics underlying the Irish Women's Movement. This study seeks to address that deficit by illuminating the processes through which the Women's Movement, and, in particular its constituent organisations, came to fruition as agencies of social change. The central argument advanced is that fundamentally the women’s movement in Ireland is characterised by its interconnectedness: the central tensions, themes and organising strategies of the movement interpenetrate not only across different social movement organisations, but across time and space. The movement's development is conceptualised in terms of four stages: A period of A b eyance which lasted from the Civil War until the end of the 1960s; a period of rapid Advancement which occurred during the 1970s; the Re-appraisal of the women's movement from within, which occurred during the 1980s; and the New Directions which manifested themselves particularly in the community sector in the late 1980s and 1990s. The study demonstrates the continuities which link the movement and its constituent organisations across these four stages of development. A key theme is the continual process of formalisation, which has had the effect of incorporating radical organisations on the margins of the Women's Movement into the mainstream. Parallels can be drawn between the period of advancement in the 1970s, and the new kinds of consolidation and formalisation occurring in the 1990s. While the key analytical framework drawn on is resource mobilisation, considerable modifications are made to the model in its application to the Irish Women's Movement. The movement's trajectory cannot adequately be documented without paying attention to the political opportunity structure, the potential for the development of external alliances, the existence of sympathetic elites and the role of ideology both as a source of conflict and as a valuable resource. The study makes an important contribution to our understanding of Irish social movements. There has been no previous attempt to explain the evolution, form and processes of the women's movement from a sociological perspective. The method of analysis allows for tracing the continuities underlying the movement from the inception of the State to the present day, and challenges the received view that the women's movement 'happened' in Ireland as part of a generalised modernisation trend in the post-1960 era. This work provides a blueprint for the analysis of other historical and contemporary social movements in an Irish context.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Revolution; Devolution; Analysis; Women's Movement;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 5117
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2014 14:21
    URI:

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