The Peace Movement and the Formulation of U.S. Foreign Policy

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Peace and Conflict Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Recent research on social movements emphasizes the importance of the political opportunity structure (POS) for movement development and impact. The POS for the peace movement, which is a contender in the foreign policy arena, is much more limited than it is for social movements working for changes in domestic policies. In this essay, the authors, both of whom are social scientists and peace activists, analyze the POS for the peace movement, focusing on two of its formal aspects, the interest aggregation structure and the policy-making structure. The authors conclude by arguing that the peace movement should expend more energy on efforts to democratize the process of foreign policy making if it hopes to be more effective.