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Much potential has been ascribed to the emergence and possibilities of a “global civil society,” one that takes the concept of civil society and civic activism and…
Much potential has been ascribed to the emergence and possibilities of a “global civil society,” one that takes the concept of civil society and civic activism and involvement beyond the traditional confines of the nation-state, and moves it instead into a globalized and increasingly politically integrated context. In general, the concept of global civil society has been treated as a positive development, with considerable attention being paid to the emancipatory and participatory opportunities that it presents. This essay explores the other side of the equation, i.e., the marginalization of national and European-level civil society and these participatory and emancipatory benefits in Central and Eastern Europe during a process of globalization and EU integration. Drawing from the emerging literatures on global civil society, this paper compares the normative and empirical emphases of that literature with the experiences and opinions of Central and Eastern European environmental NGOs. It examines how Central and Eastern European environmental movements have moved toward becoming more interconnected both in Europe and worldwide, yet are marginalized in favor of a style of environmental policy-making emerging from Brussels that emphasizes technocracy, scientific over public knowledge, and a top-down approach to the policy-making process. As a result, many of the democratic elements of civil society found at the national level have became neglected at the European and the global levels, replacing democratic politics (at least in the form of social movements) with the emergence of supranational technocratic institutions.
Soil is a non-renewable and increasingly deteriorating resource, yet it is barely protected by European Union (EU) legislation. This constitutes a puzzling gap within the…
Soil is a non-renewable and increasingly deteriorating resource, yet it is barely protected by European Union (EU) legislation. This constitutes a puzzling gap within the otherwise encompassing and progressive environmental policy of the EU. To explain the integration resistance of soil protection, I draw on insights from rationalist and sociological institutionalist theory. The institutional rigidity of the community method of environmental decision-making limits policy change to favorable interest constellations, but this constraint is usually compensated by agenda competition among the national environmental pioneers. However, successful agenda-setting depends on the skillful combination of political venues and issue frames. Matters of land politics, such as soil protection, are difficult to frame in terms that make them suitable for European policy venues. The theoretical argument is illustrated using an in-depth case study of the agenda-setting, negotiation, and eventual withdrawal of the ill-fated proposal for an EU soil framework directive, with a focus on the changing role of Germany. Reframing of soil politics as locally bound and as essentially national affair, subnational actors extended the conflict to include the German federal chamber as policy venue. As a result, Germany turned from “pusher by example” and first mover to “defensive front-runner,” successfully pursuing a blocking strategy.
Injustice is perceived, experienced and articulated. Social movements, and their constitutive parts, frame and re-frame these senses of injustice. Two often-overlapping…
Injustice is perceived, experienced and articulated. Social movements, and their constitutive parts, frame and re-frame these senses of injustice. Two often-overlapping accounts of social movements are in focus in this chapter. Human geography has been flooded with movement-based analyses of environmental justice (EJ). Sociology (more appropriately political sociology) has provided insight into social movements in the form of ‘contentious politics’ (CP). Building on both sets of literature, this chapter seeks to advance thought in human geography through a detailed exploration of master and collective action framing. It argues, firstly, that framing analysis challenges activist researchers to retain ‘spatial constructs’ as their central focus, rather than discourse. It calls, secondly, for us to unbind injustice as much as justice in our analysis of framing. And lastly, it demands a multi-spatial perspective on framing beyond simply scalar accounts.
Whilst there is a growing recognition of environmental degradation, the policies of sustainable development or ecological modernisation offered by national governments and…
Whilst there is a growing recognition of environmental degradation, the policies of sustainable development or ecological modernisation offered by national governments and international institutions seem to do little more than “sustain the unsustainable”. By promising to reconcile growth with the environment, they fail to question the economic principle of endless growth that has caused environmental destruction in the first place. In this context, alternatives based on critiques of growth may offer more promising grounds. The aim of this paper is to explore how the degrowth movement that emerged in France over the last decade resonates with, and can contribute to, green politics.
After locating the movement within environmental politics and providing a brief account of its development, the paper focuses on its core theme – escaping from the economy.
Here it is argued that the movement's main emphasis is not merely on calling for less growth, consumption or production, but more fundamentally, in inviting one to shift and re‐politicise the terms in which economic relations and identities are considered. This politicisation of the economy is discussed in terms of the movement's foregrounding of democracy and citizenship, and it is argued that the articulation of these two concepts may offer interesting points of departure for conceptualising and practising alternatives to consumer capitalism.
The final part of the paper explores how the degrowth movement's stance on democracy and citizenship could help address two problematic issues within environmental politics: that of inclusion, and motivation
Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several…
Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several advantages of e-learning environments compared to traditional class-teaching, there are still challenges regarding suitable e-learning tools and didactical models. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of several e-learning tools on students’ knowledge and skills growth and to compare two learning paths, synchronous vs asynchronous, exploring how each affects the level of students’ knowledge achievement and skills acquisition.
The empirical analysis is based on an online course “Participatory processes in environmental politics”. International MSc and PhD students who enrolled in the course were from FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany) and Aberta University (Portugal). The course was designed as the flipped classroom, applying different e-learning tools and activities, some synchronous and others asynchronous. A pre- and post-evaluation questionnaire was applied to evaluate students’ knowledge and skills. Descriptive statistical analyses were carried out on this data.
Results showed that in the synchronous group, knowledge about theoretical approaches to citizen participation and sustainable environmental governance improved to a greater extent, whereas the asynchronous group showed greater improvement in nearly all skills related to intercultural communication and e-learning. Also, in the synchronous path, students enhanced their knowledge on “research application” to a greater extent.
Evaluating the effectiveness of different e-learning tools on students’ sustainability knowledge and information and communication technologies skills is a fundamental issue. The study discusses these issues, contributing to enhancing the use of adequate and grounded e-learning models on sustainable development in higher education.
Environmental justice activism is increasingly globalized, multi-faceted and multi-scaled (Bickerstaff & Agyeman, 2009; Walker, 2009a, 2009b). The existence or perception of injustice triggers the development of social activism in increasingly diverse contexts. The present contribution seeks to assess the explanatory value of resources in understanding activism (Freeman, 1979). In place of justice, the under-studied social movement theory of resource mobilization is explored as a complementary and partly oppositional account of justice activism. The highly controversial anti-GMO movement in France is selected as an invigorating context for evaluating activism. The perceived injustice of lifting restrictions on the importation of GM maize into France inspired the mobilization of a nationwide movement. In sharp contrast to existing literature, ideology is considered as a resource that effectively promotes or hinders social activism. Significant conclusions are developed for environmental justice activism research around emphasizing instability, heterogeneity, cultural sensitivity and above all, the limitations of agency-centric arguments.