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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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Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care

Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care


(p.3) 1 Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care
Social Movements and the Transformation of American Health Care

Sandra R. Levitsky (Contributor Webpage)

Jane Banaszak‐Holl

Oxford University Press

Levitsky and Banaszak‐Hall introduce an analytical framework for understanding collective challenges to American health institutions. Departing from the dominant paradigms in the social movement literature that focus on the state as the central source of power and primary target of social movement activism, the authors join a growing cadre of researchers who have adopted a multi‐institutional model for understanding social movements. By conceptualizing the American health care system as being organized by and around multiple institutions—including the state, biomedical fields, professions, and health delivery organizations—the authors seek to encompass within a single analytical framework (1) the diversity of contemporary health care reform efforts and sites of activism, and (2) the full range of actors in health reform campaigns who transcend traditional social movement boundaries between institutional and extra‐institutional politics, members and challengers, insiders and outsiders, and lay and expert activists. Their approach also broadens the focus of analysis from health social movements as dependent variables, to the health institutions which these movements seek to challenge—including the political logics, organization, and systems of meaning that sustain and reproduce dominant health paradigms and systems of health care provision.

Keywords:   social movements, collective action, health care, health insurance, institutions, mobilization, interest groups, policy reform

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