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In and against the State: The dynamics of environmental activism

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 14:39 authored by Hasler, O, Walters, R, Robert WhiteRobert White
The emerging and changing roles of environmental activists pose interesting questions for criminological inquiry. On the one hand, environmental activism has become pivotal to the implementation, compliance and regulation of environmental policies. For example, the resources and technologies of environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly employed by state agencies to help identify, monitor and prosecute environmental crime. In this sense, environmental activism has become a quasi-arm of the state in preventing environmental crime. On the other hand, environmental activists have been targeted by state legislatures and enforcement agencies as “eco-terrorists” and ideological warriors who impede trade, economic prosperity and the aspirations of private enterprise. As such, protecting the environment through protest has become an increasingly dangerous endeavor with harassment, persecution and death of activists occurring at the hands of both states and corporations. In these instances, environmental activists are perceived as a threat to the corporations and states that seek proft through the exploitation of natural resources. Thus, it can be argued that the relationship between those seeking to protect the environment and the state is paradoxical, involving both collaboration and coercion, and dynamism and danger. This article addresses the relationship between environmental activists and government. It examines three diferent dynamics between activists and states working to develop environmental policies, each with varying levels of trust and cooperation.


Publication title

Critical Criminology








School of Social Sciences


Springer Netherlands

Place of publication


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Rights to environmental and natural resources (excl. water allocation)

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