The Shape of Collective Action in the U.S. Health Sector
This chapter locates U.S. health institutions in the context of American society and culture, exploring “American Exceptionalism” and its implications for the particular structure and culture of health institutions. This context limits and shapes the forms and processes of social movements and collective action that occur. The chapter then uses the earlier chapters, as well as the broader literature, to argue how U.S. health institutions shape, and are shaped by, social movements. The range is broad and includes research that deals with movements aimed at shaping the overall financing and governance of U.S. health institutions, the internal workings of organizations, professions, and occupations, self‐help movements, and movements about particular disease and disability entities. One of main questions raised is the relevance of contemporary social movement theory, largely dealing with political movements, for the analysis of movements oriented towards specific institutions. Key concepts of institutional theory are also discussed. The key concepts of contemporary theory, with modifications, can be usefully employed in examining institutional movements. These key concepts include fields, framing processes, political opportunities, resources, collective identity, and mobilization processes.
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