Vulnerability and disobedience: new repertoires in French environmental protests

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The emergence of the counter-globalisation movement in France has been accompanied by an apparent diversification of social protest repertoires. Protest events carried out by groups associated with a wide array of issues have been remarkable for their use of spectacular and novel actions, while civil disobedience campaigns have been prominent features of environmental and civil rights protests in particular. Drawing on a number of examples of contemporary environmental and global justice campaigns, opposing advertising, four-wheeled drive vehicles, nuclear energy and, especially, open field trials of genetically modified crops, this article discusses the rise of such new forms of protest, placing them in the wider context of transformations in protest repertoires in France. It identifies key examples of innovation, before discussing the twin processes of diffusion and domestication that shape them. It is argued that, although transnational agents and processes are key determinants of repertoire innovation, it is vital to identify the national, movement and sectoral contexts and discourses which enable the naturalisation and legitimisation of new action forms.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-838
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

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