Feminist Organizations

Harvest of the New Women's Movement

Myra Marx Ferree, and Patricia Yancey Martin
Book Cover

PB: $37.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-229-7
Publication: Feb 95

HC: $69.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-228-0
Publication: Feb 95

Ebook: $37.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0156-4

488 pages
6 x 9
4 tables

Twenty-six original essays look at contemporary feminist organizations

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


This collection of twenty-six original essays looks at contemporary feminist organizations, how they've survived, the effects of their work, the problems they face, the strategies they develop, and where the women's movement is headed. The contributors, leading feminist scholars from nine social science disciplines, examine a wide variety of local feminist organizations, past and preset, illuminating the struggles of feminist organizers and activists.


"This book brings together in a single volume an impressive array of case studies by scholars and activists who know these organizations either from first-hand experience or long-term participant observation and interviewing....It provides a nuanced and complex portrait of continually evolving organizations." Ann Bookman, Policy and Research Director, Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor

"The opening and closing sections—which deal, respectively, with our successes in challenging mainstream institutions and in expanding the scope of politics to include female concerns traditional considered person—are filled with the analysis we've all been dying for.... All tease out the wins and losses, errors and victories, in a balanced way that will help future activists to build on what works, to avoid, what doesn't and to recognize the difference." The Women's Review of Books

"There's been a resurgence of interest in feminist organizations, and the sociology of social movements is thriving. This volume's union of these two streams of thought is a natural one. It is a potential classic that will draw readers for the next decade." Barbara Reskin, Professor of Sociology, Ohio State University

"...twenty-five essays that vividly document the organizational creativeity of the women's movement of the past three decades." Administrative Science Quarterly

Table of Contents


Part I: Introduction
1. Doing the Work of the Movement: Feminist Organizations – Myra Marx Ferree and Patricia Yancey Martin

Part II: The Politics of Engagements: Challenging the Mainstream
2. What Is the Feminist Movement? – Jane Mansbridge
3. Discursive Politics and Feminist Activism in the Catholic Church – Mary Fainsod Katzenstein
4. "Like a Tarantula on a Banana Boat": Ms. Magazine, 1972-1989 – Amy Farrell
5. The Australian Femocratic Experiment: A Feminist Case for Bureaucracy – Hester Eisenstein
6. Moving onto the Terrain of the State: The Battered Women's Movement and the Politics of Engagement – Claire Reinelt
7. Outsider Issues and Insider Tactics: Strategic Tensions in the Women's Policy Network during the 1980s – Roberta Spalter-Roth and Ronnee Schreiber
8. Feminist Organization Success and the Politics of Engagement – Joyce Gelb

Part III: Inside Feminist Organizations: Struggle, Learning, Change
9. Feminist Goals and Organizing Processes – Joan Acker
10. Organizational Learning in the Chicago Women's Liberation Union – Margaret Strobel
11. Children of Our Culture? Class, Power, and Learning in a Feminist Bank – Allison Tom
12. Turning It Over: Personnel Change in the Columbus, Ohio, Women's Movement, 1969-1984 – Nancy Whittier
13. Black Women's Collectivist Movement Organizations – Their Struggles during the "Doldrums" – Bernice McNair Barnett

Part IV: Emotions: A Hidden Dimension of Organizational Life
14. Watching for Vibes: Bringing Emotions into the Study of Feminist Organizations – Verta Taylor
15. "It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times": Emotional Discourse in the Work Cultures of Feminist Health Clinics – Sandra Morgen
16. Feminism on the Job: Confronting Opposition in Abortion Work – Wendy Simonds

Part V: Social Movement Strategies – Differences Between Organizations
17. The Organizational Basis of Conflict in Contemporary Feminism – Carol Mueller
18. Dilemmas of Feminist Coalitions: Collective Identity and Strategic Effectiveness in the Battered Women's Movement – Gretchen Arnold
19. Feminist Clashes with the State: Tactical Choices by State-Funded Rape Crisis Centers – Nancy Matthews
20. Feminist Social Movement Organizations Survive the New Right – Cheryl Hyde
21. Confrontation and Co-optation in Antifeminist Organizations – Susan Marshall

Part VI: Expanding the Scope of the Political: An Inclusive Vision of Success
22. Can Feminist Organizations Be Effective? – Suzanne Staggenborg
23. Doing It for the Kids: Mexican American Community Activists, Border Feminists? – Mary Pardo
24. Women's Conceptions of the Political: Three Canadian Women's Organizations – Linda Christiansen-Ruffman

Part VII: Afterword
25. From Seed to Harvest: Transformations of Feminist Organizations and Scholarship – Jo Freeman

About the Contributors

About the Author(s)

Myra Marx Ferree is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Connecticut.

Patricia Yancey Martin is Daisy Parker Flory Alumni Professor of Sociology at Florida State University.


In the Series

  • Women in the Political Economy edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg

    No longer active. Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg, includes books on women and issues of work, family, social movements, politics, feminism, and empowerment. It emphasizes women's roles in society and the social construction of gender and also explores current policy issues like comparable worth, international development, job training, and parental leave.