State Funding for Social Movements: Channeling Dissent?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 14:00
Oral Presentation
Dominique CLÉMENT, University of Alberta, Canada
Channeling theory posits that external funding for social movements, rather than coopting activism, channels activism into more structured and less militants forms. Studies on channeling, however, focus on private funding. The following paper examines whether or not public funding has a comparable effect on social movements. It examines several issues relating to channeling: why funders support activism; funding as social control or altruism; how funding is related to consolidating movement gains; and the impact of funding on mobilization, activism and internal movement dynamics. To address these questions, this article draws on an innovative new dataset that includes lists of grants extracted from over fifty years of government budgets in Canada. In addition to demonstrating that public funding has a comparable channeling effect as private funding, this article provides the first comprehensive survey of the extent of state funding for the social movement sector in Canada.