347 pages, B/w illus, figs, tabs
In this book Robert Brulle draws on a broad range of empirical and theoretical research to investigate the effectiveness of US environmental groups. Brulle shows how Critical Theory - in particular the work of Jurgen Habermas - can expand our understanding of the social causes of environmental degradation and the political actions necessary to deal with it. He then develops both a pragmatic and a moral argument for broad-based democratization of society as a prerequisite to the achievement of ecological sustainability. From the perspective of frame analysis, resource mobilization and historical sociology, using data on more than one hundred environmental groups, Brulle examines the core beliefs, structures, funding and political practices of a wide variety of environmental organizations. He identifies the social processes that foster the development of a democratic environmental movement and those that hinder it. He concludes with suggestions for how environmental groups can make their organizational practices more democratic and politically effective.
A striking and sobering study. Robert Brulle combines cultural theory with sophisticated statistical techniques in order to deal with one of the most pressing practical problems of our time. His book is among the best I have read on environmentalism and its movements. --Stephen Eric Bronner, Rutgers University "Brulle's highly comprehensive and well-crafted study of ecological degradation, sustainability, and U.S. environmental movements revives and enriches the ecological side of critical theory and makes a substantial contribution to interdisciplinary social theory as well as to social science. He carries on the richest thread of the critical theory tradition, combining incisive and historically informed social criticism with an affirmative theoretical vision of progressive change." --Robert Antonio, University of Kansas "In a powerful blending of critical theory, organizational analysis, and discourse analysis, Agency, Democracy, and Nature provides a comprehensive picture of the limitations of the contemporary environmental movement and the democratic directions in which it needs to move to become more effective." --J. Craig Jenkins, Ohio State University "Brulle's analysis of the development of the major strands of the American environmental movement represents a quantum leap in our understanding of the diversity and complexity of contemporary environmentalism in the U.S. and elsewhere. It is must reading for students of environmentalism." --Riley E. Dunlap, Boeing Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sociology, Washington State University
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Charles L. Glaser is a Professor in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the Universityof Chicago.