Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Local environmental movements

David, Matthew (1997) Local environmental movements. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86239) (KAR id:86239)


This thesis is based on a critical ethnography of "Local Environmental Movements" in and around East Kent. Starting from the office of the Canterbury and District Environmental Network, and moving through and beyond the C.D.E.N.s affiliated membership, my research led to participation in over three hundred meetings, protests and events, as well as to unnumerable personal meetings, informal interviews, conversations, letters and discussions. In total I encountered 187 different groups and organisations that saw themselves as in some way part of an environmental movement locally. There was no natural unity of beliefs, ideals or action. This problematic issue for my research became the problematic addressed by my research.

I begin with a review of existing social theory and research into the dialectical relations between "agency and structure" (movement), "society and nature" (environment) and between proximity and distance (locality). After an outline of existing case study research into Local Environmental Movements from Geography, Anthropology and Sociology, I set out the case for my qualitative, critical and participatory, ethnographic method.

The empirical research is presented in five chapters, each bringing together a number of themes, disputes and organisations. The five chapters are centred around the themes of: the network in genera; translocal locations and dis-locations of locaity; local activism within relations of autonomy and integration; local action within trans-local enivornmental actors; and party and network forms.

In the conclusions the empirical materials are brought together within a discussion of the three theoretical themes. The construction of the "local" (within translocal or "glocal" discourses and practices), and the "environmental" issues (knowledge claims about 'nature' as well as conservation, ecological and environmental relations to the non-human) are related to the issue of 'movement formation' within the field of my research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86239
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Green Party; Kent; environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:37 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2022 09:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.