Learning from the past - NGOs at the crossroads

ngos in europe

The workshop brings together social scientists who share a common interest in environmental NGOs. Since the economic crisis of 2008 and during the present age of austerity, the priority given to environmental issues in the agenda of parties and governments has decreased in Europe. Preparations for the 2009 Conference (COP-15) in Copenhagen raised environmental issues to their highest level of saliency. It caused concerns among environmental NGOs over the relevance of international negotiations as a response to environmental problems. The failure to adopt any strong agreements in response to major global environmental challenges at the 2012 Rio Conference – or at Lima in 2014 – has caused further debates about internal structure, advocacy strategies and/or priorities within the networks of environmental NGOs. Are these recent political and economic developments at the global level leading to a green backlash?

The workshop addresses the most recent trends affecting environmental NGOs as well as the strategies characterising earlier periods of expansion. While favouring comparison both over time and between organisations, the workshop welcomes a diversity of approaches.



Thursday 18 June 12:00 - 17:30 pm

12:00 Welcome and introduction

12:30 - 14:00 - Lunch

14:00 - 17:00 -  Successes and failures

Session 1. Climate change

Chair : Johannes Paulman (IEG, Leibniz/ St Antony's college, Oxford)

Neil Carter (Department of Politics, University of York, UK) and Mike Childs (Friends of the Earth), The Big Ask: an exercise in effective policy entrepreneurship

Cassandra Star (Flinders University, Australia) Environmental NGOs’ advocacy in times of crisis: unravelling failures ?

Session 2. Reflexivity and effectiveness

Chair : Chris Rootes (Kent University, UK)

Michael Hammer (INTRAC, UK): Decentralise, flatten, localise, empower? Directions and contradictions in transformation of INGO organisational governance

Laurent Mermet and Fanny Guillet, (AgroParisTech, France) Acting effectively for biodiversity: a strategic Framework for environmental NGOs

Friday 19 June 9:30 - 17:00

9:30 - 12:30am  - Time(s) of changes

Session 3. Green movements

Chair : William Beinart (University of Oxford, UK)

Stefan Bargheer, (University of California at Los Angeles, US), Apocalypse Adjourned: Strategies and Goals of German Environmentalism after the Nuclear Energy Phase-Out

Peter Christoff, (University of Melbourne, Australia), The Death of Australian Environmentalism?

Session 4. Environmental organisations

Chair : Jenny Pickerill (University of Sheffield, UK)

Brian Doherty, (Keele University, UK) Modus vivendi, organisational culture and sustaining solidarity in Friends of the Earth International

Nathalie Berny, (Maison française d'Oxford, Centre Emile Durkheim, France), French environmental NGOs: new wine in old bottles?

13:30 - 17:30 pm  - Strategies in comparison

Session 5. Choices of audiences and modes of action

Chair : Peter Vis (European Commission, / St Antony's college, Oxford)

Sabine Lang, (University of Washington, US), Lance Bennett, (University of Washington, US), Alexandra Segerberg, (Stockholm University, Sweden), Digital Media and the Organization of Advocacy: Comparing Legitimacy and Public Engagement in National and EU-Level Environment and Fair Trade NGOs

Martin Goodman, (University of Hull, UK) The Migration of Public Interest Environmental Law from the USA to Europe

Session 6. Entrepreneurs, activists and the grassroots

Chair : Graeme Hayes (Aston University, UK)

Peter Harper, (University of Bath, UK), Songs of Experience. Four decades of successes, failures, and change at the Centre For Alternative Technology

Geoffrey Pleyers, (FNRS- Université de Louvain, Belgium), Climate justice NGOs at a crossroad: Institutional civil society with an eye on the grassroots

Location: Radcliffe Humanities Building, Seminar Room.

This is a joint event of the Maison française d'Oxford and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.

For more information, please contact the convenors : nathalie.berny@nuffield.ox.ac.ukC.A.Rootes@kent.ac.uk


Environmental Humanities

Contact name: Hannah Penny
Contact email: hannah.penny@humanities.ox.ac.uk
Audience: Open to all


Environmental HumanitiesTORCH Programmes