Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Sherkat, Darren

Second Advisor

Kretschmer, Kelsy


This dissertation examines the interactions between social movement organizations and a variety of state and municipal targets of movement activity during the construction of the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (HFRA). Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial method of oil and gas extraction which created an unusual amount of public interest and participation in policy construction. This dissertation provides an overview of the political environment in Illinois during the legislative negotiations for the HFRA, outlining the playing field of political negotiations, and the relative positioning of social movement actors competing for influence in that field. Additionally, I examine the causes and consequences of conflict between coalition partners opposed to fracking, focusing on the impact of differential resources, expertise, and institutional legitimacy. Using data from interviews with organization leaders from industry and environmental coalitions, key informants from government bureaus, and participant observation at public meetings, my research contributes to the political process literature by elaborating the heterogeneity of the state’s interests in political challenges and revealing cleavages within social movement coalitions.




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