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Environmental activism and the construction of risk: implications for NGO alliances


  • Timothy Forsyth

    (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK)


This paper argues that academic approaches to environmental policy that equate political pluralism with the representation of plural environmental rationalities are overoptimistic and avoid the complex ways in which risk is constructed. The paper discusses two cases of industrial poisoning in Thailand to illustrate how alliances between factory workers and middle class activists strengthened political campaigns against the state but failed to identify the nature of risk or address workers' concerns. It is argued that academic debates need to acknowledge the pragmatic nature of both environmental knowledge and NGO alliances, and therefore seek more effective, inclusive public fora for assessing risk. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Forsyth, 1999. "Environmental activism and the construction of risk: implications for NGO alliances," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(5), pages 687-700.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:11:y:1999:i:5:p:687-700
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1328(199907/08)11:5<687::AID-JID600>3.0.CO;2-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roe, Emery M., 1995. "Except-Africa: Postscript to a special section on development narratives," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1065-1069, June.
    2. Rigg, Jonathan, 1991. "Grass-roots development in rural Thailand: A lost cause?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 199-211.
    3. Marglin, Frederique Apffel & Marglin, Stephen A. (ed.), 1990. "Dominating Knowledge: Development, Culture, and Resistance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286943.
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