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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Research Projects

Publication details

O'Donovan, O., Moreira, T. & Howlett, E. (2013). Tracking Transformations in Health Movement Organisations: Alzheimer's Disease Organisations and their Changing ‘Cause Regimes’. Social Movement Studies 12(3): 316-334.

Author(s) from Durham


In this paper, we aim to contribute to the elaboration of a framework for the systematic periodisation of health social movement organisations (HSMOs). Drawing on historical and contemporaneous data on two organisations that identify as Alzheimer's disease movement organisations (the Alzheimer's Society in Britain and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland), we consider transformations in these organisations' ‘cause regimes’. By cause regime, we refer to who and what an HSMO is fighting for, as articulated in its public self-identifications; to the broader framing of the cause and to how organisations' public self-identifications of their cause can govern or regulate their operation, including their interactions with and representations of those on whose behalf they advocate. We show that the transformation of HSMOs' cause regime can give rise to a series of organisational tensions and challenges, including the alignment of the public identification of its cause with the patient identities it promotes, or its day-to-day ‘patient identity work’.

Department of Sociology