Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Grant, Joseph


This dissertation is a study of a social movement based on the organizations that define that movement, with specific attention to Christian conservative legal organizations (CCLOs) and their advocacy for the Christian Right in American politics. I ask, how do these organizations differ from one another in their advocacy efforts? How is this movement industry structured with respect to organizational networks? And how do the differences and variation among these organizations affect the dynamics among these groups? That is, how do organizations interact in the confines of a shared movement? This study addresses the literatures on law and society, religion and politics, and social movements, acting as a bridge between these distinct areas of inquiry. Using social network analysis, qualitative content analysis, and original interviews with movement attorneys, I find that CCLOs differ in their behaviors in their industry of activism and in their interaction with other CCLOs. I further argue that these behaviors are best understood in terms of unique organizational characteristics like structure, expertise, and relations with other groups. I conclude that organizations bearing surface similarities to one another can actually differ in meaningful ways, ways that facilitate and drive interaction among these groups in their shared movement and movement industry.




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