Bureaucratic politics and the translation of movement agendas

Sharon Gilad, Saar Alon-Barkat, Chagai M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on social movement outcomes focuses on the publicly visible stages of government policymaking. It rarely opens the black box of government's translation of movement demands beyond the agenda-setting stage and before their materialization into legislative bills. Using a bureaucratic politics perspective, we suggest that bureaucrats play a central role in translating movement agendas into concrete problems and policy solutions, which they tend to link with their bureaus' missions and existing programs. We further suggest that relative consensus among bureaucrats when coupled with politicians' disinclination to intervene in the translation process tends to advantage conservative interpretations of movement agendas. Conversely, interbureau confrontation and political intervention are associated with more radical policy responses. Empirically, we examine the responses of the Israeli government to the large-scale mobilization, in 2011, surrounding the rising costs of housing and living. We build on archival research and interviews with senior bureaucrats located in 11 central-government ministries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-385
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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