Feminist legal activists in law schools developed what we call critical community tactics beginning in the late 1960s to bring about important cultural change in the legal educational arena. These feminist activists challenged the male-dominant culture and succeeded in making law schools and legal scholarship more gender inclusive. Here, we develop the critical community tactics concept and show how these tactics produce cultural products which ultimately, as they are integrated into the broader culture, change the cultural landscape. Our work then is a study of how social movement activists can bring about cultural change. The feminist legal activists’ cultural products and the integration of them into the legal academy provide evidence of feminist legal activist success in shifting the legal institutional culture. We conclude that critical community tactics provide an important means for social movement activists to bring about cultural change, and scholars examining social movement efforts in other institutional settings may benefit from considering the role of critical community tactics.
This work was previously presented as a keynote address at the 2015 American Sociological Association Collective Behavior and Social Movement Workshop, Chicago, Illinois, and as a talk for Vanderbilt University’s Department of Human and Organizational Development. We thank members of these audiences for their helpful questions and commentary.
McCammon, H.J., McGrath, A.R., Dixon, A. and Robinson, M. (2016), "Targeting Culture: Feminist Legal Activists and Critical Community Tactics", Non-State Violent Actors and Social Movement Organizations (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 41), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 243-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X20170000041018Download as .RIS
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