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Civil Society and the Environment: The Mobilization of the U.S. Environmental Movement, 1900- 2000


National Science Foundation

Principal Investigator(s):

Dr. J. Craig Jenkins, Ohio State University

Dr. Robert J. Brulle, Drexel University

Dr. Jason Carmichael, McGill University

IExE Cluster:

Energy, Environment and Society


The relationship between social movements and social change is a longstanding area of inquiry. Most studies have focused on policy change, especially the adoption of national legislation and its implementation. But the impact of movements is often problematic and contingent upon other political and social forces. Movements may matter because of their own activity (direct effects), or because of the processes that they set into motion (indirect effects), or because of their joint interaction with allies and receptive institutions (joint effects). Only a few studies move beyond policy enactment to see whether policies are actually implemented, including being translated into social practices, and, most relevant of all, remedying the underlying problems identified. Our research funded by the National Science Foundation asks whether the environmental movement mattered in terms of environmental policy enactment, its implementation and finally its effects on actual environmental problems. Building on our ongoing research, we will develop major new measures of: (1) environmental movement actions; (2) cultural attention to environmental issues; (3) governmental policy development; (4) political opportunity; (5) implementation efforts; (6) countermovement and business political actions; and (7) environmental quality conditions.