Women Against the State: Political Opportunities and Collective Action Frames in Chile’s Transition to Democracy


Noonan, Rita K. 1995. “Women Against the State: Political Opportunities and Collective Action Frames in Chile’s Transition to Democracy.” Sociological Forum 10 (1): 81-111.

Author: Rita K. Noonan


While transitions to democracy have been hailed as the most important phenomena of this century, few scholars understand the role that women have played in these metamorphoses. This article uses an historical in-depth case study to examine how and why women mobilized against the state in Chile. Previous social movement theories have not attended adequately to cultural and ideational elements (e.g., gender ideology), much less these factors in the Third World and authoritarian context. In contrast, the present study modifies and extends the concepts of political opportunity structure and collective action frames, suggesting that the manner in which ideology and cultural themes are framed may provide opportunities for protest, especially in the authoritarian context. Specifically, the rise and fall of broader mobilizational frames or master frames shapes how movement-specific frames compete, decay, and transform, as some master frames create space for certain ideas (e.g., feminism) while others do not. New hypotheses regarding the use of collective action frames in a nondemocratic setting are offered.

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Political Participation Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Chile

Year: 1995

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