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Session Overview
RN12_06c_H: Social Movements and the Environment
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Cigdem Adem, The Public Administration Institute for Turkey and the Middle East
Location: HA.2.9
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 2.

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Doing what no one else wants to do – understanding citizen support for a nuclear waste repository in Östhammar, Sweden

Karl Hannes Benjamin Lagerlöf

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Most communities would not volunteer to host a repository containing high-level nuclear waste. Still some do, even with citizen support, which is the case in Östhammar, Sweden. This paper examines how this support is maintained and how Östhammar has become and remained the country’s designated site for disposal of the waste. It is proposed that existing theory on nuclear communities is indeed helpful, but that such theory either does not address, or fully explains, local citizen support for the nuclear activities. The nuclear oasis theory does not focus specifically on such support but rather on nuclear communities as unequal, geographically remote, environmentally degraded and disadvantaged sites where nuclear enterprise roams freely. In addition to not focusing on the support, this theory also seems somewhat misguiding as Östhammar is situated close to a large city, not more degraded, nor more unequal, than the average Swedish municipality. The industry awareness theory on the other hand describes nuclear communities as entrepreneurial innovators seeing potential where others see useless waste, that economic dependency is of secondary importance, and that they have ‘integrated the industrial activity and cognitive understanding into their local culture’. These claims are, however, not underpinned by in-depth empirical research and, hence, tell little of what constitutes this ‘cognitive understanding’ and ‘local culture’ more precisely. Building on fieldwork not previously carried out in Sweden, this paper makes an empirical contribution to the study of nuclear communities, but also contributes theoretically by addressing the underdeveloped aspect of citizen support in nuclear communities.

Political use of Twitter in post-Gezi environmental protests

Burak Dogu

Izmir University of Economics, Turkey

Environmental protests differ from the other protests in the kinds of concern they voice and embrace disconnected forms of collective action focused upon environmental issues (Rootes, 1997). They appear to be bounded by ecological concerns, however their grievances are mainly based on the political atmosphere in which they are nourished. In this regard, recent environmental protests in Turkey can be associated with the protest ecologies that have emerged after the Gezi movement as well as the governmental policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

This study reflects on the post-Gezi environmental protests with a particular focus on the political use of Twitter by a wide variety of players such as the environmental movement organizations, media, political figures, and activists. Based on the analysis of three small-scale environmental protests in Yırca, Iztuzu, and Cerattepe, it points out to the role of Twitter as a political platform connecting players across protests. Network analysis will be conducted to identify and position the players as network-analytic approaches in social movement studies invite the observer to look below the official stories of movements and their activists (Krinsky & Crossley, 2014). After having mapped the protest networks, a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be used to reveal the type of connections that the players have built during the protests. The interplay between the players and the clusters based on their connectedness will be analyzed considering the microstructural network factors.

Keywords: Environmental movements, Twitter, network analysis, Turkey

Food sovereignty, peasant agriculture and agrobiodiversity: struggles, practices and institutionalization processes in Italy


Univerity of Calabria, Italy

In the Italian context different efforts have been made in order to establish principles, practices and rules to sustain peasant agriculture and to promote reterritorialization of food and agroecology. The aim of this contribution is to analyse the efforts for food sovereignty construction presenting firstly a general framework of social mobilization around alternative models of agriculture, and secondly the construction of peasant seed and alternative food networks. Opportunities and constraints of institutionalization processes and informal practices by different actors will be pointed out.

Divestment Movements in Canadian Universities and Their Effects on Institutional Investment Policies

Mihai B Sarbu

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Many individuals, organizations, and municipalities around the world have taken the decision to divest from fossil fuels. This study is focused on divestment movements in universities because the historical evolution of previous divestment initiatives (such as against tobacco companies and the apartheid South Africa), has shown that universities represent an essential link for the expansion of a divestment campaign: based on these historical precedents, once a movement is adopted unequivocally by universities, it spreads widely in the society at large.

At the same time, there is little research on how effective divestment is in changing institutional investment policies, and there is no agreement regarding its effectiveness in fostering a change from the current use of fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.

The purpose of this research is to analyze the impacts of the divestment movements that have taken place in several Canadian universities. This research is mainly exploratory because the divestment movements that are analyzed are recent and the theories that would support an in-depth conceptual analysis have not been developed yet. However, some concepts borrowed from the institutional and the social movements literature are relevant and will be used.

This study will be completed in a Canadian context and will help better understand the dynamics of divestment movements and their influence on institutional investment policies.

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