The Green Rainbow


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Environmental Groups in Western Europe

Russell J. Dalton

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What is behind the greening of European politics, and what is the future of the green movement? This book examines environmental interest groups at the vanguard of the green movement in Western Europe—from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to national bird societies and conservation groups—in order to answer these questions.

Russell J. Dalton chronicles the evolution of environmental interest groups from their first mobilization wave in the late 1800s to the present. Drawing on interviews with leaders of nearly seventy major environmental groups in ten countries, he challenges the conventional view of the environmental movement. Dalton argues that environmental leaders are not the political radicals portrayed by their opponents but are advocates of reform. He also finds that green groups are active and varied participants in the policy process. As the green movement has developed, environmental interest groups have helped to define its goals and identity. The environmental movement, says Dalton, has become an advocate for a new green agenda that is reforming the policy priorities of advanced industrial democracies.

Dalton uses his investigation into the green movement to shed light on social movements and social theory. By comparing conservation and ecology groups, he finds that an organization's values strongly influence its political behavior. He concludes that social movements are driven by their ideological views and political identity and that these shape their choice of political goals, their potential for action, and their pattern of behavior.

Russell J. Dalton is professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine.

"An important contribution to the field of comparative politics and social movements."—Herbert Kitschelt, Duke University

"The Green Rainbow makes a major advance in explaining the rise of the environmentalist movement, and in clarifying the motivation and strategies underlying contemporary social movements more broadly. It examines a wide range of evidence, interpreting it in a fascinating and insightful fashion. This book is important to anyone interested in social movements or social change."—Ronald Inglehart, University of Michigan

"A clear, oft-repeated argument, broad coverage, and straightforward presentation of evidence and example make this a useful text."—C.A. Rootes, Political Studies

"Scholars concerned with the emergence of New Social Movement Theory's in general or the comparative politics of 1970-86 in particular will want to consult this book."—J.R. McNeill, American Historical Review

"An impressively thorough account of the political behavior of environmental groups in Western Europe. . . . Dalton's study will be valuable to a variety of scholars. His juxtaposition of different paradigms and his ability to tie his analysis into other postmaterialist issues will make this work indispensable to those studying social movements. His accounts of European interest groups will be of interest to comparativists and interest group specialists. Finally, his work suggests intriguing, though not thoroughly developed, contrasts to the experiences of American environmental groups."—William R. Lowry, Journal of Politics

"The Green Rainbow is a scholarly yet readable study of European environmental interest groups. Anyone interested in environmental politics, European environmental interest groups, or social movement theory will benefit from this book."—Forest L. Grieves, Environmental History

"Future historians will doubtless find this well-written chronicle of the environmental movement to be of great use in assessing the role of that movement in European political and social history."—Robert Hardaway, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

"Russell Dalton's innovative and readable study, Green Rainbow, focuses on environmental interest groups in Western Europe. . . . a foundation for future research into the structure and evolution of movement politics."—Thomas R. Rochon, American Political Science Review

ISBN: 9780300059625
Publication Date: October 26, 1994
328 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
18 b/w illus.