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Explaining The Transformation of Environmental Activism

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Where mobilisation is concerned, looking at Protest Event Data, one can see a clear pattern emerging in the number of environmental protests: an increase from 60 to 100/year from 1988 to 80, decreasing steadily to just over 60 in 1991, increasing to a peak of around 160 in 1995, and tailing off dramatically to around 60 per year in 1997 During this period, roads as an issue show the most dramatic increase, and confrontational increases remarkably. The other remarkable statistic that needs explaining is that of the decreasing significance of the demonstration in terms of median numbers of members and gross numbers of protests.

(Roots 2000, p9)

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As far as environmental movement organisations are concerned, the trend has been for previously radical groups to become more institutionalised, in terms of membership base, paid staff and turnover. More recently, there has also been the emergence of more radical disorganisations. The archetypal group here is Earth First, founded in the nearby town of Hastings in the spring of 1991, with an even more recent example being Reclaim the Streets (Q: Why Hastings??? The south east is hardly a hot-bed of counter-cultural radicalism!!!) instrumental in Various road protests, as well as RTS and TLIO.

An attempt to explain the above trends through a very systematic and detailed application of poltical opportunity tools is made by Rootes, who offers as an explanation of the TEA and the emergence of the anti-roads movements the following:

1. the commitment to development of roads by the then conservative government (assumably, without an issue to protest about, there will be no protest?)

2. The legitimisation of environmental issues by Margaret Thatcher in various high profile speeches

3. The ensuing increase in media reporting of environmental issues

4. The failure of the Green Party in the 1992 elections

5. The reelection of the conservative government and the renewal of the roads building programme

6. The closure of the political system to any chance of pro-environmental policy being implemented

7. The example of the success of the poll tax, which was especially appealing to the young (Wall 99)

This can be explained by political conjuncture of the following

1. Raising of expectations of the government in the late 80s that it then failed to meet

2. The lack of a possibility to register an effective green protest vote in the 1992 elections

3. The CJA campaign extended the networks of activists

4. Shell providing an opportunity to protest

5. Animal welfare activists stepping up thie thing

All of this leads to normally conservative people being pushed into the arms of the more radoial minded

“Protest mobilisations in modern Britain have thus far operated as useful safety valves for the existing system rather than as widening pools of rejection of it or reservoirs for future attempts at the radical transformation of it” (Roots, 2000, p15)

Rootes makes the generalisation that the poll-tax campaign, Alarm UK and CND seek to mobilise supporters around single issues and seek to downplay their distinctive political agenda in order to appeal to a mass constituency. (Rootes, 2000, 16)

This suggests that people in Britain are not concerned with the unrepresentative nature of the political opportunity structure in the United Kingdom, and seek to work within it, this is certainly true of groups such as Greenpeace and FoE in recent years.

What he does state is different is the emergence of Spontaneous Road Protests, interview data here suggesting that individuals engage in such activities because of an ideological rejection of an unrepresentative liberal democracy, the same reason why they do not vote, but he again offers the political explanation stating that they also engage in action because of “their use of direct action was useful in campaigns because the actions of direct activists enabled mainstream organisations to look very moderate by comparison and so increased their leverage” (Rootes 2000, 15) It follows that even if such emergent aspects the environmental movement cannot be explained by the political opportunity structure then the actions of activists are at least partly informed by it

Moving beyond resource mobilisation explanations, Tarrow points out that post-material factors alone, while useful in explaining the rise of new social movements at a very high level of generalisation, in that personal affluence allows people to think beyond material concern are not enough as to explain why some countries in the 1960s experienced more contention than others. The question that he sets himself is one of how underlying structure and mobilisation potential are transformed into action.

(p72)

More broadly, in Power in Movement, Tarrow states that the goal of his work is to locate the social movement within the universe of contention, defining the social movement as those “sequences of contentious politics that are based on underlying networks and resonant collective action frames, and which develop the capacity to maintain sustained collective action frames against powerful opponents” (Tarrow, 1997,2)

His main contention is that we need a broad framework of analysis that relates more contemporary social movements to contentious politics and to politics in general, and to do this, he tries to relate them to cycles of contention, holding that “contention is more closely related to opportunities for – and limited by constraints upon – collective action than by the persistent social or economic factors that people experience” (Tarrow, 1997, p4)

Tarrow points to five dimensions of the political opportunity structure that explain this transformation:

1. Opening of access. Such as when the peace, students and women’s movement took advantage of this in America in the late 60s (77)

2. Evidence of political realignment weakening of the democrats forced them to listen to african americans (78)

3. Appearance of influential allies Gamson (1990) shows correlations for this in th U.S. between success and allies, and European green parties are more applicable to “life-space movements”

4. Emerging splits within the elite

5. A decline in the state’s capacity to repress dissent.

Are three main types of contention: violence, conventional and unconventional!!!

Performance, in our century where third parties and the media are crucial in determining movement outcomes, is of crucial importance in understanding protest and contention (94)

He explains the lack of violence due to it having a polarising effect, which can isolate sympathisers, and splits movements, such as the SDS and The Weathermen. It can emerge when there are no other channels. (94-6)

The second form of contention is that of disruption, which is periodic as sustaining disruption depends on a high level of commitment, and this is hard to maintain in the long run and it can be ineffective as police adapt and elites remain firm

Sustaining disruption also means that less committed members slip back into private lives, and it splits the movement into conventional majorities and militant minorities (96-99) and it is for this reason that “protest demonstration has become the major nonelectoral expression of civil politics” (100) This is cos of low commitment and low risk, and is easy to manage and organise, has become legalised in constitutionalised states. Eventually, however, this leads to the institutionalisation of contention

“As disruption and excitement give way, movements realise the advantages of conventional forms of protest, they gain access and more members”

The process is thus one where Innovation occurs at the margins, such as skeleton suits etc, can enliven or become something new, with tactical interaction proceeding in a dialectical fashion, and thus moments of madness , peaks in cycles of protest lead to paradigmatic change: rigid to modular in the 18th, strike and demo in the 19th, and NVDA in the 20th (103), until in its present form, the modern social movement is multiform, it is flexible, combining the expressive, the instrumental. The confrontational and the violent and the conventional…

Looking at the movement as a whole then, Tarrow explains the long term cycles of disruptive tactics through firslty the Political Opportunity Structure, and secondly the need for members to maintain a broad public appeal. Thus movements as a whole adapt their strategies in order to generate the most sympathy for their cause, and to ensure that they will remain efficacious in the political sphere. The disruptive is something at occurs at the peak of movement cycles, and is rather unusual and almost appears as irrational in this account.

Frame alignment has four processes:

1. Bridging

2. Amplification

3. Extension

4. Formation

The goal is to not be too close to the dominant, but not to be too far!!!

ME: AT LEAST THIS IS POLTICAL OPPORTUNITY STRUCTURE!!! THESE FRAMES ARE DONE TO MOBILISES SUPPORT

Emotionality and Injustice are used to mobilise actors to collective action

Me: this whole thing implies adaptation, selective interpretation in order to achieve consensus and solidarity in the eyes of a common enemy Is this right???

P116: The media tend to focus on the militant, no the peaceful.

Thus, do radical protests emerge because of their need to glean media attention, or is it more that they reflect the lifestyle and values of the members of the protest???

Q: Why was the civil rights movement so successful?

“only when combined with an innovative form of action in a changing opportunity structure did rights become the central collective action frame for the movement” (117)

Here, it is quite clear that what Tarrow is saying is that issues only become the central defining feature of a social movement in a given climate. It is this climate of innovation, that can be explained by a changing opportunity structure that gives rise to the issue, it is not the issue that then leads to the particular form of protest.

119: The main weakness of ties of collective identities does not produce mobilisation, and can produce divisive movements: Todd Gitlin Twilight of common dreams, 1995

CONCLUSIONS

1. Cultural symbols are not automatically available

2. Combination of symbols depends on actors involved in the struggle

3. It is contention that binds people together in solidarity

RSPB 1993: 850 000

NT 1992: 2.2m

Grove-White 1992 puts the env movement at 5m (all from Rudig)

FOE founded 1970 end of 70s, 15000 1988 39000, 1989, 125 000 190 000 in 1990

“scope of the target, the causal analysis and the tactical repertoire (Byrne, 132)

FOE focused on the problems of advanced industrial society, put the problems down to economic growth and a commitment to participatory democracy. It mirrors this later in its decentralised economic and decision making structure, based around informal consesnus

It has a mission statement, as of 1995: so it has clear aims and objectives

FOE engages in direct action and conventional lobbying, the former has decreased in recent years, but members may have joined in with other groups.

Works with businesses, and with the green consumer campaign CFC lead.

Conventional lobbying has become more important to it. This is in line with Searles commitment to authoritative data. FOE “has shown itself both willing and able to exploit any opportunity offered by mainstream institutions in the judicial as well as in the political field, internationally as well as nationally” (Byrne, 135)

This show that POS is important, but is wider than national structure.

Two egs are CO2 monitoring stations and discharge of pollutants, it also agitates for public inquiries, eg Sellafield, 1977

Resources also allow FOE to research into alternatives to govts poltices, eg 1993 thames road link. and they have had success in private members bills,

FOE has established itself as “a reliable purveyor of an authoritative alternative perspective” (Byrne 137)

All of this is at the national level, but at the local, there is much more likely to be a combination of tactics, and members are expected to be active!!!

Foe offers the only real chance foe eco-minded people to engage in activites that can bring real changes at the local level, falling short of illegality. 138

Greenpeace, formed in 1978 in the UK, combines direct action with research, analysis and conventional lobbying, employing a hierarchical structure that combines a tight line with a sharp division between paying members and activists. Bearing witness is their most famous modus operandi, (maybe they are thus aware of the POS)

Globally, membership was at 30, 000 by 1979, one million by 1985, reaching 5m by 1990, in 1996 in the UK members are at 411, 000. Annual income of 9m

“Greenpeace’s campaigning priorities tend to fluctuate over time, often in response to specific events such as nuclear testing. Overall, however, there have been a number of persistent themes” 140 the greenhouse effect, nuclear power and weapons, ocean ecology, terrestrial ecology and toxic materials.

Greenpeac tactics are international, and resources used for intervention or monitoring

Communications has a budget of 1.5m in 1995, this strikes me as significant!!!, with 29 of 1300 staff. Brent Spar has to be the most famous and successful.

Greenpeace challenging the legality of the THORP plant against BNL is an eg of using technical-legal expertise to take on the establishment on its own terms. Also critical of risk assessment methodology, advocating a precautionary approach.

Greenpeace has pursued a multi-faceted tactical approach in its campaigning, thus it is more than an institution, and looks beyond the POS in that it operates continually, and works within and without the national political system.

It is interesting to note that the structure of Greenpeace has not evolved, but has been part of its ethos since its inception, McTaggart, the question is, has it been adopted in those countries that are most amenable to it???

CAN WE USE POS TO EXPLAIN BOTH THE RISE, CONTINUATION AND TRANSFORMATION OF GREENPEACE IN THE LATE 80S, AND THE RISE OF DA IN THE MID 90S?

Dissatisfaction with Greenpeace has lead to the rise of direct action in the 1990s.

We also have to consider the more radical single issue campaigns that are more radical and, mainly the roads and animal rights in the UK. 3000 attended an EF gathering in 1996, and 8000 an RTS street party in the same year. Protest is seen as fun, no compromise, no formal decision making structure, very much about people doing their own thing. Bryne likens this to Greenham and Cruisewatch in the 1980s. It is thus more local than national.

Greenparty is unsuccessful, consider 1% of vote in elections for the past 20 years, except the 15 in 1989 europarliament elections. Rootes on this.

There is a conflict over ideology: between the ecological and the environmental, one stressing rights of the planet and participation, and the other effective leadership and electoral success. The former is closer to e AND J’S cognitive praxis, the later represents a move away from this. Can we explain this shift in ideology by looking at the POS? or can we merely explain the strategies of those who are no longer regarded as part of any significant movement for change???

International dimensions of policy

Environmental polticy agenda

Ecological agenda, which is emphasis on co-operation, not on patriarchy, materialism, competition and aggression.

Membership runs at 5000 in the mid 80s, 20, 000 at the end, 6,500 in 92, and 4,500 by 1993, remaining similar ever since. Ideological purity has won over electoral pragmaitism, refusing to invest in an executive that can take care of the day to day running, supposedly if they had have done this, more success would have been the result? In Britain its ideology, using long term not short term perspective on organic agric as an eg is at odds with the system and culture. So can we explain the outcome of this battle, its continued commitment to an ecological ideology and decentralist organisation in light of the POS??? possibly, as they have no chance of influencing the govt!!!

Has the concept of POS lead us to construct an ivory tower from which we can perceive with greater clarity the complex fusions of structure and agency, or has it lead to an ivory tower constructed to meet the needs of funding bodies and to incorporate the study of something truly revolutionary into the system which critical movements fundamentally oppose, thereby removing the researcher from the realties of movement mobilisations?

He distinguished them from pressure groups, and points to the difficulties associated with similar concepts such as collective action, revolutions, the q is how are apparently different protest groups linked together??? (2-3)

The primary theme of POS, according to Scott is that movements act in order to maximise their impact and their access to key decision-making bodies (Scott, 4)

Researches of the Political opportunity structure tradition have systematically explored the relationship between a number of social movements and the wider political environment in cross national perspective. The general idea is that the political environment does not simply determine the emergence and strategies of social movements, but offers rational actors certain opportunities to which movements adapt their strategies in order to “(a) maximise the likelihood of success and (b) maintain the movement and its momentum ” (Scott, 1999, 3)

POS has a long and varied history. Tarrow, in Power and Movement, states that the goal of his work is to locate the social movement within the universe of contention, defining the social movement as those “sequences of contentious politics that are based on underlying networks and resonant collective action frames, and which develop the capacity to maintain sustained collective action frames against powerful opponents” (Tarrow, 1997,2) His main contention is that we need a broad framework of analysis that relates more contemporary social movements to contentious politics and to politics in general, and to do this, he tries to relate them to cycles of contention.

Although he clearly blends some aspects of the work of Melucci and Tuorraince, his book demonstrates a clear attempt to expand the explanatory potential of POS, evidenced by his argument that “contention is more closely related to opportunities for – and limited by constraints upon – collective action than by the persistent social or economic factors that people experience” (Tarrow, 1997, p4)

He uses POS to answer the question of. how underlying structure and mobilisation potential are transformed into action.

(p72). He operationalises the concept of POS along five dimensions. He uses these dimensions to explain a wide variety of movement activity.:

6. Opening of access

7. Perceived evidence of political realignment

8. Appearance of influential allies Gamson (1990) shows correlations for this in th U.S. between success and allies, and European green parties are more applicable to “life-space movements”

9. Emerging splits within the elite

10. A decline in the state’s capacity to repress dissent.

These factors are used to explain why some countries in the 1960s experienced more contention than others, with cross national diffeences in the degree of state centralisation are said to explain the rapid diffusion of the French movement, and the longer lived more diffuse students movement of the late 60s in the United States(81), This schema is also used to account for the velvet revolutions of Eastern Europe.

Tarrow uses the representative and non-repressive system, the process of not repressing sit-ins makes it harder to mobilise against police in uniform as one that explains the inclusion of the womens movement into a democratic alliance in the (84) American 1970s and 80s, as well as the emergence of green politics in Northern Europe

Opportunities come and go, : civil rights, developed the master frame of civil rights for others to follow, thus expanding opportunities, they also open opportunities of political actors, but they may turn to opponents, thus to mount a sustained movement, one needs along with

1. The forms of contention that people employ to gain support

2. Collective action frames

3. Mobilising structures that reinforce challengers

* He explains a lot of movement in historical perspective, is his explanatory framework too deep, by going in depth, how much does it really explain about the whys and the patterns of protest

* ARE THESE MOVEMENTS NEW, IS HISTORY RELEVANT???

ACTING CONTENTIOUSLY:

According to Tarrow, there are three main types of contention: violence, conventional and unconventional!!!

Performance, in our century where third parties and the media are crucial in determining movement outcomes, is of crucial importance in understanding protest and contention (94)

Sustaining disruption, or unconventional activity is said to depend on a high level of commitment, and this is hard to maintain in the long run. Sustaining disruption can be ineffective as police adapt and elites remain firm and means that less committed members slip back into private lives, and it splits the movement into conventional majorities and militant minorities (96-99) This is said to explain why “protest demonstration has become the major nonelectoral expression of civil politics” (100) This is cos of low commitment and low risk, and is easy to manage and organise, has become legalised in constitutionalised states

It is also used to explain the institutionalisation of contention

As disruption and excitement give way, movements realise the advantages of conventional forms of protest, they gain access and more members, innovation occurs at the margins, such as skeleton suits etc, can enliven or become something new!!!

Tactical interaction proceeds in a dialectical fashion

With moments of madness , peaks in cycles of protest lead to paradigmatic change: rigid to modular in the 18th, strike and demo in the 19th, and NVDA in the 20th (103)

Until we end up with the modern social movement is multiform, it is flexible, combining the expressive, the instrumental. The confrontational and the violent and the conventional…

FRAMING CONTENTION

“a dominant belief system that legitimises the status quo with and alternative belief system that supports collective action for change” Gamson, et al 82, 106

The problem is one of competing for public attention and getting beyond passivity and irrelevance

Three problems:

1. Meanings are constructed, but do Sms pick these up from existing concerns, modifying them into cultural materials for mobilising people, or do they cut an entire new cloth?

2. How do they ensure that meanings are read in the same way by an audience>

3. Are these identities essentialist, or constructed for the purposes of struggle?

“Hi, I,m Melanie C, and I,m number one, but it’s gonna be hard remaining at the top for 2 weeks, especially with new releases from Westlife and Bewitcvhed, but as usual, it’s not up to me, it’s up to you: you buy ’em, and we just sing ’em” (2/04/00, Invicta FM)

If social movements were nothing more than identity construction, we could read meaning construction as a competing redefinition of texts, but with SMs, we must understand the context, how do interests and emotions of the people appealed to lead to this construction of meanings??? (108)

Q: are frames of meaning employed like holy scripture, or are they adapted to local situations (such as Marxism)

Collective action frames are key: Klandermans, and Snow and Benford: “interpretative schemata that simplifies and condenses the “world out there” by selectively punctuating and encoding objects, situations, events, experiences, and sequences of actions within one’s present or past environment” (110)

Frame alignment has four processes:

5. Bridging

6. Amplification

7. Extension

8. Formation

The goal is to not be too close to the dominant, but not to be too far!!!

ME: AT LEAST THIS IS POLTICAL OPPORTUNITY STRUCTURE!!! THESE FRAMES ARE DONE TO MOBILISES SUPPORT

Emotionality and Injustice are used to mobilise actors to collective action

Me: this whole thing implies adaptation, selective interpretation in order to achieve consensus and solidarity in the eyes of a common enemy Is this right???

Klandermans makes the distinction between consensus formation, and consensus mobilisation, which is what actors do!!!

P116: The media tend to focus on the militant, no the peaceful.

Thus, do radical protests emerge because of their need to glean media attention, or is it more that they reflect the lifestyle and values of the members of the protest???

Q: Why was the civil rights movement so successful?

“only when combined with an innovative form of action in a changing opportunity structure did rights become the central collective action frame for the movement” (117)

119: The main weakness of ties of collective identies does not produce mobilisation, and can produce divisive movments: Todd Gitlin Twilight of common dreams, 1995

CONCLUSIONS

4. Cultural symbols are not automatically available

5. Combination of symbols depends on actors involved in the struggle

6. It is contention that binds people together in solidarity

“Lowe and Goyder… see the environmental movement as comprising as both the environmental groups and the “attentive public”. The former pursue common concerns and represent the “organisational embodiment” of the movement. The later consist of those who… share, to some extent their values and goals.” (p14)

This author looks at the emergence of the environmental movement in historical perspective, tracing it from its roots in a romantic and utopian reaction to industrialisation in the nineteenth century. This writer refers to three, and possibly four phases which have seen a progressive strengthening of the environmental movement

It was during the third phase that the Environmental Movement grew into a mass movement of global importance (60s-70s)

This period saw the development of new groups such as the BTCV (1959), WWF(1961), FoE (1971) and Greenpeace (1977).

The fourth phase stems form the mid-80s onwards, characterised by a growth of these older groups as well as by the emergence of more radical groups. It is now the case that environmentalism, and the movement in Britain is multi-layered. “[these actors] are as diverse in their aims and operating styles as the different layers of society to which they appeal” (17)

Organisationally, when it comes to local-national structures, these groups are diverse. Greenpeace and WWF local groups are restricted to fund-raising,

Rootes argues that the national peculiarities of environmental movements clearly reflect the persistent impact of national cultures and political structures and bear the impact of national politics.” 18

FoE, CPRE do allow members to vote on certain decisions, but this is restricted, whereas Greenpeace and RSPB are more closed, see Jordan and Maloney 1997. What does this mean about the legitimacy of these organisations?

The question seams to become on of to what extent is environmentalism about gaining access to politics, and to what extent is it about shaping a new knowledge, a new critique of society? A second question is to what extent a social movement supposed to be communicative, does it have to be to be a social movement?

CPRE, RSPB and WWF derive about a quarter of income from legacies, the question here is can the dead be regarded as part of the movement?

Orio points to five types of group (95b) Burke, in Clarke points to a lot of functions.

Grove-White (91a, 25)points to the fact the adoption of charitable status is cultural and stylistic than restrictive, whereas Greenpeace has taken the form of a LC to be more poltical.

Barbara Young RSPB: “We believe in a strong factual research base for our work. It’s the persistent voice of reason that has been our most effective weapon in the past, rather than chaining ourselves to railings

Finao Reynolds CPRE talking constructively to officials

Not challenging knowledge according to me!!!

Also, the means whereby are the same as those whom they contest

Direct Groups are characterised by their different action repertoires, and although these cause factionalism, they are, according to Porrit96 an integral part of the cyclical historical development of this and any movement.

KEY CHARACTERISITCS:

Diversity and overlap are they key. In one respect this is a strength, as it can foster co-operation especially across international boundaries, on the other hand, it can be divisive, and different tactics can weaken the ability of the movement to influence policy (and public opinion??) Such tensions are only brought out in campaigns, or at key developmental moments, but the fact that they exist does raise questions of how much solidarity there is within the movement. Given that there is no agreement over strategy, or organisational form, and from this one can conclude that there is little evidence of a coherent ideology that challenges the dominant mode of environmental engagement, is there really a movement? Is there are dominant society which to challenge.

Rucht also points to the fact the movement groups compete for resources

Lowe and Goyder 1982 point to the fact that many environmental groups share the same values today and share these concerns (wording correct) with victorian groups. However, despite aims and objectives being the same, is this enough to locate solidarity. If the movement is about historical praxis, fusing ideas and action, process and goals, then identifying shared concern about the environment is not enough to locate a movement. If it were, we’d all be environmentalists.

CPRE and Chpater 7 are radically different as regards their focus on land use: Cnational aTrust buys land for non-use, chapter 7 points out that the planning system as a whole makes low-impact development unlikely, thus the underlying logic of the planning system frustrates the ability of those with a deep-ecological ideology to engage in any kind of meaningful praxis through which they could reconstruct their lifeworld on their own terms. This then forces them into a campaigning stance in order to change this particular aspect of statutory law. The simple fact is that such an ideology existed long before the campaign. POINT???

However, the development of the RSPB and the CPRE

RSPB, 3 stages from the specifics to the environment as a whole, is a wider challenge which binds it to the env move, so it is becoming more ideologically dense, but this is maybe a t the expense of solidarity and more diovergence in tactics

Similarly, CPRE at sizewwll

Szerszyndki 1995: 70s and 80s: a new kind of env, signalled by G and Foe in which a new agenda of modern society as destructive and wasteful is framed

Jamison 1996: env as international, and new agenda is forming!!! International, more co-ordinated, ideas of biodiversity and sustainable development, buttel et al 1990 a reorietation to ecology and the ecological perspective.

The environmental movement (in all countries???) according to Eyerman and Jamison gains its distinct identity from the combination of three knowledge interests

Firstly, there is the cosmological, which translated terms from an internal scientific discourse into public space, the ideas were selected and modified according to popular experience as opposed to a result of formal study, the whole movement being different from conservationism as it was trying to develop a social ecology rather than a natural one. Praxis is stepping outside of ecological science and developing philosophical and poltical dimensions of this worldview(70-73)

Secondly, the technological dimension of the movement, through the critique of nuclear and chemical technologies give what they refer to as the substance of the movement, pointing out that where politics is weak, the technological dimensions became strongest, but they categorise those who move into ecological technology in institutional settings as leaving the movement behind them, attributing this space and its emergence to the movement as opposed to the other way around.

Thirdly, they speak of the organisational dimension of the movement, stating that it borrowed a lot from the student movement, a diffuse all encompassing emancipatory project.

The central idea here is that “what made environmentalism into a social movement was its combination of the three dimensions into a core identity. As a movement it carved out a new conceptual space.” (77)

The central idea here is that the political dimension of the environmental movement, although essential to the movement (or is philosophy is enough?) is premised upon a radically different ecological worldview that acts in opposition to the dominant mode of knowledge production in contemporary society. It is informed by daily life, not by technical criteria.. Stephen Toulmin has even referred to this as a return to cosmology after a period of non-cosmological hegemony. It is not primarily poltical in the formal sense as the “ecolgical perspective is informed by ideals rather than ideology” (73) thus it works better in cartoons, perhaps as this is is such a holisitc worlkdview. Is it thus fair for POS to treat it in a formalistic manner?

The organisational dimension is about participation and decentralisation, something the movement shares with a wider movement new social stylee, is it thus fair for POS to focus on exlusive movements as the boundaries of these are clearly not clear cut

Taken together, it follows that the cognitive praxis of this movement at the beginning is irreducivbe to the system, it operates along a differnet, communicative logic, NEXT???

Looking at the question of how movements sustain themselves, we turn to RMT, a movement faces the problems as any other entrepreneurial organisation in that it must make itself attractive to the public by keeping issues “hot” and avoid the free-rider problems. This it does through

1. Lowering the costs of participation for members

2. Seeking selective incentives to keep members interested

3. Looking for resources.

Here it is believed that the dynamic is cyclical.

The above two offer a purely instrumental account of social movements, Melucci says that these tell us a lot about the how of social movements, but little about the why, overstating the importance of political movements and downplaying the cultural elements. Firstly, commitment to a movement is not simply about clearly defined aims, it is vague, to do with identity, secondly, the political aspects are only the surface ripples of a much larger phenomenon. The movement is a network, protests and campaigns are but emergent features of this.

RMT focuses on the organisational aspects of movements: how do loose networks of members that share ideas about social change translate these ideas into action: how do organisations interact with the rest of the movement? Diani 4-5

Tilly: focuses on shifts in repertoires of collective action (diani 5) Here, movements are an organised self-conscious and sustained challenge

Both of the above focus on the how as opposed to the why. Touraine prefers the idea of historicity, in which the movement seeks control over the overall system of meaning, he sees the movement as embodying. Firslty

1. Principle of identity

2. Principle of opposition

3. Principle of totality

Issues at stake refer to the historicity, not to the organisational norms of Society

The second important point is that there are divisions within the movement

Hie theory is that movements operate around one major thematic of conflict., the new core conflict of post0industrial society, as technocracy!!!

For Melucci, movements only operate occasionally in the political sphere, and operate all of the time in the cultural, they are characterised as a “multiplicity of groups that are dispersed, fragmented, submerged in everyday life, and which act as cultural laboratories”

Diani, 7

Me: the daily life thang appears as central here!!!

This suggests that people in Britain are not concerned with the unrepresentative nature of the political opportunity structure in the United Kingdom, and seek to work within it, this is certainly true of groups such as Greenpeace and FoE in recent years.

What he does state is different is the emergence of Spontaneous Road Protests, interview data here suggesting that individuals engage in such activities because of an ideological rejection of an unrepresentative liberal democracy, the same reason why they do not vote, but he again offers the political explanation stating that they also engage in action because of “their use of direct action was useful in campaigns because the actions of direct activists enabled mainstream organisations to look very moderate by comparison and so increased their leverage” (Rootes 2000, 15) It follows that even if such emergent aspects the environmental movement cannot be explained by the political opportunity structure then the actions of activists are at least partly informed by it

This explanation works fine if we assume that activists always act in order to gain access to the political sphere. Another implicit assumption is that activists always have a primarily instrumental logic. They will first attempt conventional means of access, and if not successful, progress to gradually more and more unconventional means of getting their message across.

POS has a long and varied history. Tarrow, in Power and Movement, states that the goal of his work is to locate the social movement within the universe of contention, defining the social movement as those “sequences of contentious politics that are based on underlying networks and resonant collective action frames, and which develop the capacity to maintain sustained collective action frames against powerful opponents” (Tarrow, 1997,2) His main contention is that we need a broad framework of analysis that relates more contemporary social movements to contentious politics and to politics in general, and to do this, he tries to relate them to cycles of contention.

Although he clearly blends some aspects of the work of Melucci and Tuorraince, his book demonstrates a clear attempt to expand the explanatory potential of POS, evidenced by his argument that “contention is more closely related to opportunities for – and limited by constraints upon – collective action than by the persistent social or economic factors that people experience” (Tarrow, 1997, p4)

He uses POS to answer the question of. how underlying structure and mobilisation potential are transformed into action.

(p72). He operationalises the concept of POS along five dimensions. He uses these dimensions to explain a wide variety of movement activity.:

11. Opening of access

12. Perceived evidence of political realignment

13. Appearance of influential allies Gamson (1990) shows correlations for this in th U.S. between success and allies, and European green parties are more applicable to “life-space movements”

14. Emerging splits within the elite

15. A decline in the state’s capacity to repress dissent.

These factors are used to explain why some countries in the 1960s experienced more contention than others, with cross national diffeences in the degree of state centralisation are said to explain the rapid diffusion of the French movement, and the longer lived more diffuse students movement of the late 60s in the United States(81), This schema is also used to account for the velvet revolutions of Eastern Europe.

Tarrow uses the representative and non-repressive system, the process of not repressing sit-ins makes it harder to mobilise against police in uniform as one that explains the inclusion of the womens movement into a democratic alliance in the (84) American 1970s and 80s, as well as the emergence of green politics in Northern Europe

According to Tarrow, there are three main types of contention: violence, conventional and unconventional!!!

Performance, in our century where third parties and the media are crucial in determining movement outcomes, is of crucial importance in understanding protest and contention (94)

Sustaining disruption, or unconventional activity is said to depend on a high level of commitment, and this is hard to maintain in the long run. Sustaining disruption can be ineffective as police adapt and elites remain firm and means that less committed members slip back into private lives, and it splits the movement into conventional majorities and militant minorities (96-99) This is said to explain why “protest demonstration has become the major nonelectoral expression of civil politics” (100) This is cos of low commitment and low risk, and is easy to manage and organise, has become legalised in constitutionalised states

It is also used to explain the institutionalisation of contention

As disruption and excitement give way, movements realise the advantages of conventional forms of protest, they gain access and more members, innovation occurs at the margins, such as skeleton suits etc, can enliven or become something new!!!

Tactical interaction proceeds in a dialectical fashion

With moments of madness , peaks in cycles of protest lead to paradigmatic change: rigid to modular in the 18th, strike and demo in the 19th, and NVDA in the 20th (103)

Until we end up with the modern social movement is multiform, it is flexible, combining the expressive, the instrumental. The confrontational and the violent and the conventional…

Cite this Explaining The Transformation of Environmental Activism

Explaining The Transformation of Environmental Activism. (2017, Dec 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/explaining-transformation-environmental-activism/

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