Feminism and the Women's Movement: Dynamics of Change in Social Movement Ideology, and Activism
Many past studies of the U.S. women's movement have been primarily descriptive, focusing solely on the differences between groups. In Feminism and the Women's Movement, Barbara Ryan integrates a broad historical view with an analytical framework drawn from the theory of social movements. Relying on participation and observation of diverse groups involved in the women's movement, interviews with long-term activists, and readings of historical and contemporary movement publications, she discusses the changing nature of feminist ideology and movement organizing. Ryan examines the interactive and transformative relationship of feminist groups to each other, and to processes of social change within the larger society. From a detailed discussion of the early women's movement and women's suffrage, through mobilization for the ERA and the "post-feminist" period which followed its defeat, to the rise of a new mobilization for reproductive rights and the continuing challenge to incorporate race and class difference into feminist thought and organizing efforts, Ryan portrays the successes and difficulties that women have faced in their efforts to effect social change in recent history. Feminism and the Women's Movement offers a unique analysis of the meaning of feminism for the various sectors of the women's movement. It will be an important source to students and scholars involved in the fields of women's studies, American history, and feminist theory.
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