Protest and policymaking: Explaining fluctuation in congressional attention to rights issues, 1960-1986

Brayden G. King*, Keith G. Bentele, Sarah A. Soule

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although past research has failed to establish a link between protest and policy change, we reexamine the relationship at the agenda-setting stage of policymaking. We assert that protestors compete for attention among lawmakers at the agenda-setting stage. An issue receives more attention when the frequency of protest activity around a particular issue is sufficiently high for that issue to stand out within the field of competing issues. We examine this process by analyzing the factors associated with increasing and fluctuating attention to rights-related issues in Congress. We find that protest, issue legitimacy and issue competition account for variation in the number of congressional hearings granted to rights issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-163
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Forces
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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