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(p.1) One Introduction
Doctors and Demonstrators
Drew Halfmann
University of Chicago Press

This book focuses on the interactions between actors in civil society and the political institutions that enable and constrain their actions. The book analyzes the effects of macro-level political institutions such as healthcare policies, electoral and party systems, and policy venues on meso-level collective actors such as medical interest groups, political parties, and social movement organizations. It is shown here that political institutions helped determine when, where, and how actors involved themselves in abortion policy making. Political institutions affected the interests and priorities of these actors and constructed and shaped the meaning and salience that they attached to the abortion issue. Though political institutions powerfully shaped abortion policies, they did not determine them. Plenty of room remained for maneuver and choice by individual and collective actors as they faced strategic dilemmas and trade-offs.

Keywords:   civil society, political parties, political institutions, collective actors, abortion, strategic dilemmas

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