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Re. new publication on social networks and participation in an 
environmental movement. Apologies for cross-postings.

Details for interested readers below.

Joanna Robinson and I have published a new article entitled: “Collective 
action to save the ancient temperate rainforest: social networks and 
environmental activism in Clayoquot Sound”, published in /Ecology and 

It is open access. You can read it online at:

You can also download a pdf of the article from the above link (which 
may be easier to read).

You can browse the entire special issue on “Networking the Environment: 
Social Network Analysis in Environmental Management and Local Ecological 
Knowledge Studies” at:

*The article abstract:*

In 1993 over 850 people were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience 
to prevent the clear-cut logging of pristine ancient temperate 
rainforests in Clayoquot Sound, Canada. This was the largest incident of 
this type in Canadian history, and has arguably been Canada’s most 
visible mobilization over a specific environmental issue. This study 
examines the factors that explain the ongoing participation of 
individuals in the environmental movement (more broadly, beyond 
participation in civil disobedience) to protect Clayoquot Sound during 
the period following the 1993 protest. We focus on the roles of 
interpersonal social networks and movement identification, and compare 
their statistical effects with the effects of values and attitudes on 
the level of participation of individuals in the movement. We compare 
survey data from members of Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS), a key 
environmental organization in this protest, with data collected from 
several surveys of the general public, and also from members of a local 
countermovement group (a proforest industry group that mobilized against 
the environmental movement). Although values and attitudes statistically 
differentiate members of FOCS from the other groups, these variables do 
not statistically explain ongoing differential participation in the 
movement amongst FOCS members. Rather, individual level of participation 
in this environmental movement is best explained by ego-network 
centrality (the pattern of ties each respondent has to contacts in the 
movement), as measured by the number of ties FOCS members have to others 
in a range of environmental organizations, and by their level of 
identification with the movement. Implications of this research for more 
recent mobilizations, such as against oil pipelines, are discussed, as 
are avenues for future research.

*A few comments:*

I am pleased about the article for several reasons, amongst others, it 
involved quite a lot of research, and I have been hoping to write this 
up and get it out for some while. Here are a few contextual comments for 
interested readers.

 From the perspective of the social movements literature, there are a 
few things that I think are interesting. One, is that this is a 
relatively unique study that has identical data on a social movement, a 
counter movement, and two samples of the general public. And indeed the 
findings reflect what we would expect theoretically, quite nicely. These 
comparisons enable us -- to some degree – to deal with the problem of 
sampling on the dependent variable. Also, the main findings are quite 
robust statistically.

Also, this is an important case – arguably one of the most important 
cases pertaining to the environmental movement in Canada, which in turn 
is one of the most high profile movements in Canada.

  Like all studies, there are some limitations – but hopefully there are 
also some things people will find of interest.


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