Between Pragmatism And Radicalization

NGOs and social movements in international climate politics 1

Authored by: Achim Brunnengräber

Routledge Handbook of the Climate Change Movement

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415839259
eBook ISBN: 9780203773536
Adobe ISBN: 9781135038878


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The attributions were impressive: ‘Our Hopes in Civil Society,’ a ‘Third Force between Market and Government,’ or the ‘Power of the Courageous’ – that is how magazines titled their articles and issues written about NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in the mid-1990s. In the meantime it has become quieter around the NGOs. The supposed NGO-ization of world politics (FES 1996) did not last long and attention on NGOs falls off rapidly if they do not manage to create spectacular actions, loud protests, or humorous campaigns. Apart from that there are other quite interesting changes going on in the field of civil society. This is what the Occupy movement stands for and which began with the occupation of the Zuccotti parks in New York on September 17, 2011, and transformed into the role model for worldwide protest actions against the power of banks and the unequal distribution of wealth. The Occupy movement is still carefully interpreted as a starting point of a new cycle of movement activity (Brunnengräber 2012b). Roland Roth calls it a “return of utopia, situations and radical culture critical motives,” similar to the motives of the 68’s protests (Roth 2012: 22).

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