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Conflict and the Effectiveness of Constraints in Contemporary Urban Protest

In sum, the time-series analysis supports the general hypothesis that social movement policy impacts are facilitated by both the presence of allies within the institutional arenas and by a favorable public opinion. This facilitation, however, occurs only if these two factors are accompanied by sustained movement mobilization. It also shows that some claims are easier to meet than others due to the very nature of the policy areas and issues addressed, hence supporting the hypothesis about the varying viability of claims. Specifically, ecology movements are in a better position than antinuclear movements and, especially, peace movements to bring about policy changes. Finally, the cross-national comparison does not yield consistent results. DATA AND OPERATIONALIZATION QCA is a methodological approach and technique that belongs to the broader family of comparative methods.9 In many respects, it is the combination of Przeworski and Teune’s (1970) most similar system design (MSSD) and most different system design (MDSD). As such, it offers the possibility to perform both within-case comparisons and inter-case Policy Impacts of Social Movements 471 comparisons (Ragin 2003). QCA has been developed as a via media between qualitative and quantitative approaches (Ragin 1987; see Rihoux 2003 for a review). Its main aim is to identify regularities among a medium number of cases (ideally between 10 and 50) through a process of Boolean minimization. Ontologically, QCA assumes “multiple and combinatorial causality” (see Ragin 1987; Mill 1967; Mackie 1974; Wunsch 1988). First, it assumes that causality is plural, and that there exist several “paths” which lead to a given outcome. In other words, a phenomenon does not need to have only one cause or set of causes. Second, causality is conjunctural, meaning that factors react in a “chemical” way or “in concert” with other factors (Mill 1967; Becker 1998: 65). Thus, causality is not additive, it is combinatory. The latter feature is particularly relevant for our present purpose, as it allows us to model joint and interactive effects of social movements.