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Explaining The Transformation of Environmental Activism: An evaluation of the Explanatory Potential of the Political and Identity Oriented Approaches.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explaining The Transformation of Environmental Activism: An evaluation of the Explanatory Potential of the Political and Identity Oriented Approaches 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) 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. ...read more.

Middle

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!!! ...read more.

Conclusion

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... ...read more.

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