Dominant tactics in social movement tactical repertoires: Anti-gay ballot measures, 1974–2008

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change

ISBN: 978-0-85724-609-7, eISBN: 978-0-85724-610-3

ISSN: 0163-786X

Publication date: 31 December 2010


This study theorizes about the development of dominant tactics within social movements, as certain tactics within a tactical repertoire are used frequently and imbued with ideological significance. Little research has been done on hierarchies within tactical repertoires, assuming that all tactics within a repertoire are equal. Between 1974 and 2008, the US Religious Right attempted over 200 anti-gay referendums and initiatives to retract or prevent gay rights laws. This research examines how the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement developed campaign tactics to fight these direct democracy measures. This research expands the existing literature on tactical repertoires by theorizing about the mechanisms by which tactics become dominant, namely, their affirmation by victories, responsiveness to countermovement escalation, and involvement of institutionalized social movement organizations to disseminate tactics. This research contradicts existing movement–countermovement literature that suggests that movements do not develop dominant tactics when mobilizing in opposition to a countermovement.


Stone, A.L. (2010), "Dominant tactics in social movement tactical repertoires: Anti-gay ballot measures, 1974–2008", Coy, P.G. (Ed.) Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 141-174.

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