Mind the (Mobilization) Gap: Comparing Climate Activism in the United States and European Union

32 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 1 Sep 2011

Date Written: August 12, 2011

Abstract

The barriers to concerted political action on climate change mitigation are steep, especially in multilevel systems where power is diffused and authority contested. Yet action and mobilization - galvanising resources and people to participate actively - is possible, and in certain instances far reaching. This paper seeks to explain how mobilization occurs in complex multilevel systems. It compares two different polities - the United States and the European Union - to tease out the key features of multilevel systems and how they affect climate activism, mobilization and governance. Focusing particularly on climate activists - politically engaged participants - the paper analyses climate mobilization across three stages: awareness-building, alliance-building and network creation. It argues that successful mobilization is highly contingent on activists’ ability to exploit - or at least navigate - multilevel institutional barriers. To capture this mobilization dynamic, the paper develops the notion of ‘mobilization networks’ - stakeholder networks able to transcend levels and institutional inertia and steer polities towards particular climate goals.

Keywords: climate change, activism, multilevel, mobilization, European Union

Suggested Citation

Bomberg, Elizabeth, Mind the (Mobilization) Gap: Comparing Climate Activism in the United States and European Union (August 12, 2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901194

Elizabeth Bomberg (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh ( email )

Politics and International Relations
SSPS, George Square
Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9LD
United Kingdom
(44) + (0)131 6504248 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.ed.ac.uk/staff_profiles/bomberg_elizabeth

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