Environmental Protest in Western Europe

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The rise of environmentalism has been one of the more remarkable developments in the politics of western societies in recent decades. However, as environmental awareness has become more generalized, the forms of expression of environmental concern have changed. Established environmental movement organizations have become embedded in policy networks, but, in some countries, there has been a resurgence of environmental radicalism. New groups, adopting innovative tactics, have mounted spectacular and disruptive protests. These developments pose interesting questions for social scientists and policy-makers. Has the institutionalization of established environmental organizations demobilized their supporters and reduced them to a passive, credit-card waving 'conscience' constituency? Has direct participation in environmental protest become the specialized activity of smaller numbers of people? Has there been a decline in the total volume of environmental protest, or is it merely that the forms of protest have changed? Have the protest repertoires of established groups moderated over time, or have they been stimulated by the emergence of more radical groups to adopt more challenging tactics? Has environmental protest become more confrontational? Do protests employ different repertoires of action according to the issues at stake? How does the incidence of protest vary over time and from one country to another? Is there evidence of a Europeanization of either the issues or the forms of environmental protest? These are some of the questions this volume addresses. Based upon an analysis of the protest events reported in one quality newspaper in each of eight countries during a ten year period, this is the first systematically comparative study of environmental protest in a representative cross-section of EU member states. It breaks entirely new ground in the study of environmental politics in Europe and is a major contribution to the study of protest events.