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Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care$
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Jane Banaszak-Holl, Sandra Levitsky, and Mayer Zald

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388299.001.0001

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Sources of Self-Help Movement Legitimation *

Sources of Self-Help Movement Legitimation *

(p.227) 14 Sources of Self-Help Movement Legitimation*
Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care

Matthew E. Archibald

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the challenges health social movements face in their efforts to achieve legitimation—sociopolitical and cultural recognition and acceptance—from actors with vested interests in institutions such as mainstream medicine and health and human services. The author explores how the self‐help movement simultaneously challenges institutional authority in medicine and health care while seeking the approbation of those interests. This chapter considers multiple sources of legitimation for self‐help organizations and where sympathetic actors are positioned in a variety of disparate fields, including medicine, academia, politics, and popular media. To understand how these actors shaped self‐help, Archibald examines longitudinal trends in targeted fields of influence and asks three related questions: (1) Are some sources of legitimation more important than others? (2) Do these have differential effects in self‐help specialty niches? and (3) How do these effects impact niche growth? Results confirm that medical, academic, political, and popular legitimation make unique contributions to the self‐help movement, that the importance of each varies dramatically by specialty niche, and that legitimation has a differential impact on niche growth.

Keywords:   self help movement, institutionalization processes, legitimation, medical authority, popular media, targeted influence

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