Movement Continuity

Key Term paper for SA 321

In her article Social Movement Continuity (1989), Verta Taylor[^1] argues that movements - contra conventional social movement theorists (i.e.: Flacks 1971, Touraine 1971) who believed movements had new origins and endings - were continuous. Building on empirical research of scholars such as Isserman (1987) on the origins of movements, Taylor suggests that social movements do not end but remain incubated. An excellent example, as used by Taylor in Social Movement Continuity (1989), is the 20^th^ century American women's movements, where ideas in the 1960s' feminist movements were evidentially rooted in the earlier cycles of feminism^2. Taylor expands on this time period between cycles of feminism to expose abeyance processes that worked to preserve the movement. The time periods between movements and their past movements are thus an important area of focus as they can explain the nuances found in each continuation. As found in Taylor's work on abeyance processes, there are organizational, behavioural, political and structural phenomena during this temporal period that function to withhold the movement. The process of this phenomena is now known and studied as movement continuity. It is important to distinguish continuity from one movement per se, that is simply dormant and/or relatively inactive. Continuity is a much larger umbrella as it can involve movements being completely redeveloped with new actors and processes whilst ideas and its integrity is what remains continuous. Abeyance processes are worth discussing. Taylor believes the actors and movers during periods of abeyance -- that may be involved in activities such as fundraising, collective resilience (i.e. women's workshops), awareness or empowerment -- are considerably marginalized. This is perhaps an outdated argument given the context of Taylor's case study movement, and leaves us with a new question regarding abeyance actors: can this marginalization vary per movement? A possible example of the contrary to Taylor's understanding of abeyance actor's position in society is made by Fominaya in her article Debunking Spontaneity (2015), where she mentions how the abeyance actors post-Indignados movement, Spain 2011, were in fact viewed more positively in society - and acquired special status. Evidently there is more work to be done on abeyance periods, subsequently continuity as a whole, given the varying contextual frameworks that tend to matter.

Works Cited

Fominaya, Cristina Flesher. 2014. \"Debunking Spontaneity: Spain\'s 15-M/Indignados.\" Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest (Routledge) 2 (14): 142-163. doi:10.1080/14742837.2014.945075.Taylor, Verta. 1989. \"Social Movement Continuity: The Women\'s Movement in Abeyance.\" American Sociological Review (JSTOR) 54 (5): 761-775. doi:10.2307/2117752 .

[^1]: Verta Taylor 1989, Social Movement Continuity; American Sociological Review, vol 54, no. 5: 761