Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic

Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic

The Environmental Movement in the Transition Process

Adam Fagan

Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic offers a radical perspective on the democratisation process, revealing the extent to which the consolidation of a politically efficacious and diverse civil society is far more complex than the earlier generation of commentators acknowledged. The environmental movement has not flourished under political democracy; its radical activists have been marginalized and targeted by the state, their ideologies and strategies compromised and their critical voice silenced. Yet the book concludes that whilst the mainstream environmental movement has become institutionalised and appears incapable of representing community interests, the environmental issue retains the capacity to mobilise, this time against the neo-liberal agenda of the democratic government.

Chapter 1: Defining an Environmental Movement

Adam Fagan

Subjects: politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy


INTRODUCTION The objective of this chapter is to identify what is understood by the term ‘environmental movement’, and then to distinguish the more specific concept of an ‘environmental movement organisation’. What are required here are workable definitions that are both sufficiently inclusive and descriptive to convey the types of mobilisations likely to be encountered in the Czech Republic since 1990. Definitions derived from western experience of over three decades of environmental protest are an obvious starting point, though any definition must be suitably broad to encompass different constellations of protest and specific organisational forms reflecting the recent political history of the Czech Republic. Amongst those studying environmental protest, and indeed social movements generally, there is considerable discussion regarding terminology: mobilisations surrounding the environmental issue are described by a variety of ill-defined and often overlapping terms, the meanings of which alter over time as new forms of protest emerge to challenge contemporary environmental problems. Amongst academics much discussion centres on the types of aggregations or mobilisations to be included or excluded within the concept of an environmental movement, and the extent to which different organisational forms can and should be distinguished. Thus arriving at a suitable definition of an environmental movement, able to convey the dynamics and diversity of a relatively young and still evolving movement, is no easy task. SOME CONCEPTUAL CONFUSION Various contributions to what might be termed the ‘environmental politics’ literature have attempted to clarify the complex forms of activism that typify environmental movements, and to categorise aggregations...

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