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The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry

In general, the high mobilization of social movements is only modestly important for explaining policy change, regardless of the policy domain at hand. While a high level of mobilization is a necessary condition for environmental policy change (ecology movement), Policy Impacts of Social Movements 477 this does not hold for nuclear power policy change (antinuclear movement), and a low level of mobilization is necessary for explaining military policy change (peace movement). Furthermore, we observe a growing level of explanatory complexity, from less complex in the case of environmental policy change to much more complex in the case of military policy change. By “complex” we mean both the number of explanatory paths (multiple causality) and the number of conditions in each term (conjunctural causality). For example, while there is one single explanatory path for environmental policy change, there are two explanatory paths for nuclear energy policy change and three for military policy change. Moreover, while there are two conditions (social movement mobilization and political alliances) in the explanatory path for environmental policy, all three conditions are needed to explain the other two policy domains. One of the main thrusts of QCA is that it allows a return to the cases for an in-depth interpretation of the results. Hence, beyond the general “strength” of a condition, or the relative complexity of the phenomenon to be explained, QCA invites the researcher to search for the causal link between each condition within each case. The equations expose the ingredients behind each causal story that has to be rebuilt by the researcher. Here we do so for nuclear energy policy as a matter of illustration. Table 9. QCA Results by Movement Ecology PROTEST * alliances IT (84-88), CH (85-86), US (87-90) PROTEST * alliances + IT (86) Antinuclear OPINION * protest * ALLIANCES CH (88-89) PROTEST * OPINION * ALLIANCES + CH (89-91) Peace OPINION * alliances + IT (87-90), US (87-89), US (92-93) protest * opinion * ALLIANCES CH (75-78), CH (86-88), CH (92- 93), US (75-78)