Responding to environmental risks: What can Albert Hirschman contribute?
As for many problems of a social nature, behaviour in the face of environmental risk is likely to take two major forms: on the one hand, the expression of dissatisfaction, on the other hand, distancing in relation to the problem; voice in the first case, exit in the second. The result of this observation is that the idea originated by Albert Hirschman in Exit, Voice, and Loyalty can seem to be appropriate for analysing individual and collective reactions, in the face of environmental risks. This is the hypothesis defended in this article. After a general presentation of Hirschman's analytical schema and a few of the debates it has provoked, we consider an application to the case of a polluting factory in the mining basin of Nord - Pas de Calais (France). For this case study, we try to show the particular forms of voice and exit and their articulation. We then consider a generalisation, by emphasising four key variables in the analysis: scale of damages, geographical area of the problem, uncertainty content, and complementarity with other issues.
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