Drawing on rich ethnographic work in both Eastern and Western Europe, The New Environmentalism? presents a range of case studies to explore the impact of corruption in EU-funded structural development projects. With detailed analyses of the forms and contexts of environmentalism, the book reveals the manner in which corruption is generated by the planning and implementation procedures of the projects, demonstrating in each case that environmental movements emerge as by-products of these processes, using corruption as part of a discourse employed in support of their action against political (regional and state) institutions, as well as to communicate their goals to local citizens. Shedding light on the ways in which revelations about corruption are adopted as a means to fostering civic participation in environmental movements and influencing institutional trust, this book contributes to our understanding of the loss of legitimacy and trust in local and global political institutions. Comparative in approach, The New Environmentalism? provides new insights into the emergence of strong civic movements at local and trans-local levels, in resistance to citizens' sense of increasing alienation from political participation and decision making. As such, it will be of interest to anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists concerned with questions of legitimacy, corruption and activism.
'Torsello's work is rich in stimulating analysis of the theoretical literature on contentious social movements yet firmly grounded in his ethnography of environmentalist organizations in Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Italy. His deliberate attention to historical local/global boundaries and relations gives new meaning and utility to concepts of civil society and political corruption.' Peter Schneider, Fordham University, USA 'In making the case that we cannot understand environmental activism without analyzing the politics of the ’in-between,’ Torsello brings to light the complex layers of decision making that preceded each of the large-scale projects discussed… Torsello has arrived at an original discovery. Based on interviews and participant observation, he proposes that environmentalist activists have much to gain from raising corruption as an issue. Discursive strategies that expose corrupt practices are often more compelling than appeals to environmental degradation when it comes to mobilizing a wide public, politicizing citizens’ demands for ’sustainable’ development, and forcing politicians, otherwise pressured by the hegemony of neo-liberal capitalism, to take notice. Why this is, and what it means, are among the fascinating questions this book engages; its author is correct to position himself as introducing a ’new perspective’ on environmentalism.' Urbanities: The Journal of the IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology
Contents: Introduction; Environmentalism; Civil society: ambiguities and opportunities; The ethnographic study of corruption; Case 1: the motorway transport project in PovazskÃ¡ Bystrica, Slovakia; Case 2: road transport development in the Czech Republic - the Brno-Vienna highway; Case 3: railway transport project in North-Western Italy - the TAV; Case 4: the Budapest M0 ring-road; Case 5: illegal waste export to Central Eastern Europe; Conclusions: inside the Green Commando; Bibliography; Index.