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The U.S. Women's Jury Movements and Strategic Adaptation
A More Just Verdict

$32.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics

  • Date Published: May 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107663268

$ 32.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • When women won the vote in the United States in 1920 they were still routinely barred from serving as jurors, but some began vigorous campaigns for a place in the jury box. This book tells the story of how women mobilized in fifteen states to change jury laws so that women could gain this additional right of citizenship. Some campaigns quickly succeeded; others took substantially longer. The book reveals that when women strategically adapted their tactics to the broader political environment, they were able to speed up the pace of jury reform, while less strategic movements took longer. A comparison of the more strategic women's jury movements with those that were less strategic shows that the former built coalitions with other women's groups, took advantage of political opportunities, had more past experience in seeking legal reforms, and confronted tensions and even conflict within their ranks in ways that bolstered their action.

    • The only book-length study of women's efforts in the United States to gain the right to serve on juries
    • Explores women's rights activism in the United States between the first and second waves of feminism, between the suffrage movement and the campaign for the ERA
    • Examines strategic collective action, particularly how activists tailor their tactics to better help them succeed in winning political reforms
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The U.S. Women’s Jury Movements is the best empirical treatment of social movement strategy ever. By looking at women’s movement allies operating at different times and in different places, Holly McCammon shows how activists can maximize their influence by adapting strategically. She provides unparalleled detail of the historic women’s jury movement, but McCammon’s analysis finds echoes in debates about contemporary movements. This book is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand how to change the world."
    David S. Meyer, University of California, Irvine

    "In this impressively researched and compellingly argued book, Holly McCammon tells the story of women’s mobilization efforts to secure an additional citizenship right which did not come with the 1920 right to vote: the right to inclusion on juries. By deftly tracking this movement across 15 states, and finding notable variation in strategic adaptation to broader political exigencies and in the pace of legal reform, McCammon has woven together a major contribution to the study of social movements and to understanding the historic and the ongoing quest of women to gain thoroughgoing citizenship."
    David A. Snow, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine

    "This highly integrative work explores the social movement by women to serve on juries, a movement that, until now, has received too little scholarly attention. Readers will learn a great deal about this movement and about state politics, but the book also sheds light on far broader questions about social movements for citizens’ rights. Rich in both historical detail and analytical rigor, this engaging book should be read and enjoyed by historians, sociologists, feminist scholars, and political scientists."
    Sarah A. Soule, Stanford University

    "The U.S. Women’s Jury Movements is a beautifully written analysis of women’s campaign for gender-inclusive jury laws across the United States. A brilliant melding of feminist history and social movement theory, the result is not only the definitive book on the topic, but one of the best books on the relationship between social movement strategy and success. McCammon’s astute analysis guarantees that this book will become a classic in the fields of feminist history and social movements."
    Verta Taylor, University of California, Santa Barbara

    "Sociologist McCammon has written a meticulous and engaging overview of a neglected chapter in women's movement history: the US women's juries movements between the 1920s and 1960s. Summing up: recommended."

    "In addition to revealing a supposed feminist hiatus as a heyday of state-level jury activism, McCammon’s study also disrupts the notion that internal dissension limited women’s organizational efficacy. Through qualitative comparative analysis of jury movements’ "strategic adaptation", McCammon identifies the factors that helped and hindered jury activism."
    Journal of American History

    "McCammon offers the reader a wealth of insights and information drawn from an impressive array of archival sources that, together, improve our understanding of how social movements produce social change … The book is concise and well written and makes an engaging and important contribution to political sociology, social movements’ scholarship, and the women’s rights movement literature."
    American Journal of Sociology

    "In this comprehensive and engaging book, Holly McCammon explores the activism behind the laws that eventually, although sometimes begrudgingly, granted women in the United States the right to serve on juries … McCammon provides an impressive level of detail, from archival sources that have been largely untapped by other researchers, about this highly important facet of women’s citizenship. With compelling prose and ample support, she answers a previously unasked, but important, question: how did women gain the right to serve on juries in the United States?"
    Law and History Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107663268
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the women's jury movements and strategic adaptation
    2. Theorizing social movement strategic adaptation
    3. Broadening women's citizenship: a history of US women's rights
    4. Responding to political defeats
    5. Countering public opposition and indifference
    6. Taking advantage of discursive and cultural opportunities
    7. Turning the movement around
    8. Comparing the movements: qualitative comparative analysis
    9. Final thoughts on strategic adaptation and social movement strategy.

  • Author

    Holly J. McCammon, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
    Holly McCammon is Professor of Sociology and Affiliated Professor of American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University. She has published extensively on women's activism and social movement tactics with articles appearing in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Gender and Society, Mobilization, Social Forces, Social Problems and The Sociological Quarterly. She is also co-editor of Strategic Alliances: New Studies of Social Movement Coalitions. Professor McCammon is editor of the American Sociological Review and her research has been recognized by the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). She has received research funding from the National Science Foundation and the American Association of University Women and is past chair of the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the ASA.

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