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 2: Different Approaches to the Study of Environmental Movements

Adam Fagan

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

Extract

INTRODUCTION The previous chapter established a suitably inclusive definition of an environmental movement and identified types of movement organisations. The task now is to move beyond definitions to construct a theoretical framework for exploring the behaviour of Czech EMOs and to identify variables shaping strategic choices and organisational logic. The general theoretical literature that has evolved to explain SMO (social movement organisation) behaviour in western capitalist democracies is the logical starting point. The more specific theoretical discourse on environmental movements and organizations and the factors shaping their activities is almost entirely drawn from the experience of established western democracies over the past 30 years (Kriesi, 1995). An extensive comparative literature exists charting the evolution of environmental movements, their relations with the state, their strategic choices and their ideological values. There is also a substantial literature focusing on the impact of resources on western organisations (McCarthy and Zald, 1977). A first important consideration is the extent to which such western-inspired theories of social movement behaviour are relevant to the new democracies of CEE. The answer depends largely on how one views the economic, political and social legacy of Soviet-style communism, and whether one is prepared to accept that the system was a variant (rather than antithesis) of modernisation that gave rise to similar environmental problems and social processes. If one accepts the argument that, although the legacy of Soviet-style communism in Eastern Europe undeniably resulted, through its emphasis on heavy industrialisation and quantitative production ethic, in a specific set of environmental...

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