Communicative Practices and Green Activism: `Strategic Framesí for Green Solidarity and Expansion in Transnational Organizing in the Post-Cold era.
Karunamay Subuddhi

Associate Professor of Sociology

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay: Mumbai- 400076

Phones: 022-25767363/25768363/25720359

Email: subuddhi@hss.iitb.ac.in, k_subuddhi@hotmail.com

The paper examines the nature and linkages between green activism and the forms of collective actions and representations for sustainability concerns, focusing primarily on the emerging communicative practices for environmental stewardship. The environmental movement activism reveals the extraordinary range in strategies, political ideologies, locations and functions of collective actions. The central message in various strategies – the call to `return to nature’ has an intellectual tradition behind it rooted in humanistic values with transformative vision of social change. Many green scholars and activists draw heavily upon the constructively humanist values reacting to the crises of post-war and post-industrialism. At a diverse and different locations or sites of struggles, environmental transformation is recognized as differentiated and conflict led process made up of various theories or discourses, conceptualized as a kind of `cognitive praxis’ (Dryzek, 1997), a set of  slogans and practices which are not simply for protesting against industrial society and its waste and artificiality, a form of `sub-politics’ (Beck, 1995) or cultural politics of ecological modernization in which the ecological transformation is an `ongoing social process, as distinct combinations of thought and action , of intellectual and practical developments of cultural struggles and  tensions . Like other forms of scientific-technical activity, Green activism consists of human actions and interactions – the disparate attempts to construct truth collectively (Jemison, 2000). Instead of forming unions and political parties, the environmental groups focus on grassroots politics and create horizontal, directly democratic associations targeting the social domain of civil society and concerned with democratization of structures of everyday life focusing on forms of communication and collective identity. The shifts in orientations and environmental concerns have manifested both at the discursive level, where newer principles of environmental science, technology and management concepts (such as sustainable development) are formulated as well as on principles on practical levels, where network of innovators are serving to link universities, business firms and government agencies in new configurations. These new political spaces assume the form of an articulated system of decision making, negotiation and representation and include some guarantees of individual and collective identities independently of the institutions of government. Despite diversity within the green values, as represented by different critics, green activism represents green ideal for a society to be organized in a manner which would negate the complex modern world in a manner setting certain precondition for human existence. The emphasis on `framing’ the green ideal combines various factors drawing on economic, social and organizational resources such as media, money, skills, legitimacy and so on. In all countries, at the discursive and doctrinal level, there continues to be overriding emphasis on furthering economic growth and international competitiveness, despite internationalization of environmental concerns. The quest for sustainable development is seriously constrained by the imagined or real imperatives of globalization. The paper examines this process of `global environmentalism’, which is defined as sort of `scope enlargement’ process by some scholars. I shall indicate certain shifts in emphasis and extension of the environmental conflicts at the national, local and transnational levels involving the methods of deliberation and construction of environmental role. The scientific and democratic discourses that are aimed at fulfilling some important functions, namely, social learning, decision-making and coordination, however, show ambiguities in the process of fact- finding and normative structuring of the environmental state.

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8:00 AM-8:00 PM, Friday, June 15, 2007, Oral

The Ontario, Canada 2007 Meeting