Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Yvonne Chilik Wollenberg
As social movements gain strength, they almost inevitably spark opposition, which can become organized as countermovements. These oppositional groups typically become active when a social movement's success challenges the status quo, threatening the interests of a cohesive group with its strong potential for attracting political allies. The emergence of an opposition group and the complicated dance of actions and reactions with the original movement that results can change the trajectory of a social movement's path and even derail it. Countermovements emerge in many different kinds of social movements, such as abortion rights and civil rights. Operation Rescue and other anti-abortion groups formed in the years after Roe v. Wade to battle with pro-choice groups, sometimes violently, to stop women from obtaining legal abortions. The civil rights movement gained not only legislative and judicial successes in the 1960s but also a cadre of opponents, who staged their own protests and Brown ...