Environmental movements between protest and institutionalisation
Christopher Rootes, University of Kent at Canterbury
These are interesting times for environmental movements. At a time when environmental issues
have risen toward the top of policy agenda, environmental movement organisations (EMOs) might
be congratulating themselves on their success even as they urge ever more radical action to
respond adequately to the challenges of climate change.
Yet although they have contributed to the raising of the profile of environmental issues, and have
often been invited to participate in consultative exercises, the increased salience of environmental
issues exposes the limits of EMOsí institutionalisation. More is asked of EMOs than their limited
resources enable them to deliver, official impatience soon supersedes invitations, and the
machinery of mainstream politics and government begins to assert a monopoly over a hitherto
marginal policy area.
It begins to appear that the influence of EMOs was greatest when issues were first raised and when
agenda were beginning to be formed, and that they are permitted only a smaller and subordinate
role once agenda have become established. Thus, in the moment of their success, EMOs are again
relegated to marginal roles. Worse, in the new urgency to deal with climate change, past victories
appear pyrrhic. Nuclear energy, driven off the agenda by environmental mobilisations in the 1970s
and 1980s, is back, touted as a reliable source of low-carbon energy. This raises the prospect of a
resurgence of environmental protest even in those countries where the institutionalisation of
environmentalism was thought to be most advanced.
This panel offers participants the opportunity to present evidence and to reflect upon the various
experiences of EMOs in various countries.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SUBMITTING AN ABSTRACT FOR THIS PANEL, PLEASE CONTACT CHRIS
ROOTES: [log in to unmask]