In defence of the Irish essay

Karen Babine argues that the genre of ‘creative nonfiction’, or the Montaignaian essay, is largely missing in the Irish context. Babine maintains that Robinson and Arthur represent two exceptions of creative nonfiction writers who are still thriving, and who both operate almost exclusively in the nonfiction genre (though each has published small exceptions in fiction and poetry).

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
Tim Robinson, culture and environment

Unfolding Irish landscapes offers a comprehensive and sustained study of the work of cartographer, landscape writer and visual artist Tim Robinson. The visual texts and multi-genre essays included in this book, from leading international scholars in Irish Studies, geography, ecology, environmental humanities, literature and visual culture, explore Robinson’s writing, map-making and art. Robinson’s work continues to garner significant attention not only in Ireland, but also in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, particularly with the recent celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his monumental Stones of Aran: pilgrimage. Robert Macfarlane has described Robinson’s work in Ireland as ‘one of the most sustained, intensive and imaginative studies of a landscape that has ever been carried out’. It is difficult to separate Robinson the figure from his work and the places he surveys in Ireland – they are intertextual and interconnected. This volume explores some of these characteristics for both general and expert readers alike. As individual studies, the essays in this collection demonstrate disciplinary expertise. As parts of a cohesive project, they form a collective overview of the imaginative sensibility and artistic dexterity of Robinson’s cultural and geographical achievements in Ireland. By navigating Robinson’s method of ambulation through his prose and visual creations, this book examines topics ranging from the politics of cartography and map-making as visual art forms to the cultural and environmental dimensions of writing about landscapes.

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A new politics of protest?

Protest movements are continually appropriating new technologies. This chapter examines the early stages of computer-mediated communication (CMC) use and emphasises that this was a crucial period which determined frameworks of technology use. It explores how the technological changes have influenced environmental politics. The chapter also examines the broader implications of CMC use for social movements. CMC is facilitating the decentralisation of the environmental movement and the rise of grassroots activism. Cyberspace, and the use of CMC, constitute a contested terrain for environmentalists. The increasingly high profile of environmental internet activism in the mainstream media has focused attention on the use of the technology for subversive purposes, and has given their opponents cause to constrict activists' use of CMC. The chapter concludes by examining the possibilities for online activism.

in Cyberprotest
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Environmental activism online

The politics of cyberspace is of importance both for the future use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and within traditional political arenas, commerce and society itself. Within Britain there are many different political groups that have a presence online and utilise CMC, including for example members of the far right, human rights advocates, religious groups and environmental activists. This book examines the relationship between the strategies of environmental activist movements in Britain and their use of CMC. It explores how environmental activists negotiate the tensions and embrace the opportunities of CMC, and analyses the consequences of their actions for the forms and processes of environmental politics. It serves as a disjuncture from some broader critiques of the implications of CMC for society as a whole, concentrating on unpacking what CMC means for activists engaged in social change. Within this broad aim there are three specific objectives. It first evaluates how CMC provides opportunities for political expression and mobilization. Second, the book examines whether CMC use has different implications for established environmental lobbying organisations than it does for the non-hierarchical fluid networks of direct action groups. Third, it elucidates the influence of CMC on campaign strategies and consequently on business, government and regulatory responses to environmental activism.

Environmental activists have utilised diverse tactics in the attempt to assert their influence upon the decision-making process and society. This chapter begins with an examination of the use online tactics for environmental activism and the reticence to engage in such use. It considers the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as a substitute for the mainstream media on which people have relied, and hence for the production of digital alternative media (DAM). Concurrent to the use of any tactics, environmentalists usually consider the ways in which they will publicise their actions prior to and after the event. CMC has been used to extend existing tactics into the realm of cyberspace and in developing new forms of action. The chapter concludes by exploring whether these changes in online tactics and alternative media production enable environmental activists to be more effective in achieving their aims and targeting their adversaries.

in Cyberprotest

This chapter examines how environmentalists' attitudes towards inclusion are translated into their use of computer-mediated communication (CMC). It outlines the importance of inclusiveness to environmentalists. The chapter demonstrates that the interviewees' attitudes, while reflecting a desire for inclusion, lead to practices of exclusion. It explores the ways in which environmental activists have secured access to the technologies, how they have tackled any problems encountered and, additionally, whether CMC use has altered organisational forms. In addition to acknowledging and attempting to resolve the access problems they faced, activists employed CMC as a way to create new avenues of access to information they wanted to distribute. Access can be mediated by membership to a group and CMC use could alter the functions and structure of an organisation. The chapter further considers the effects of organisational form on CMC use, and the effects of CMC on organisational forms.

in Cyberprotest
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on controversy over the advancement of the techno-politics in the contested terrain of cyberspace, and its relation to existing political structures. It outlines a theoretical framework by which activists' use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) can be explored. The book examines how environmentalists' attitudes to inclusion are translated into their use of CMC and explores the ways in which they have secured access to CMC, the problems they have encountered and how they have tackled them. It also examines environmental activists' understandings of, and reactions to, online surveillance and counter-strategy and the implications of these threats for perceptions of CMC as a space for activism. The book also explores ways in which environmentalists could extend their use of the technology to developing CMC as a tool of protest.

in Cyberprotest

This chapter begins by considering how the interviewees have used computer-mediated communication (CMC) to mobilise participation. It explains the use of CMC to assist (international) networking and the organisation of environmental activism. In addition to mobilisation, CMC has been used by the interviewees to facilitate networking and to boost solidarity among activists. CMC has been used by activists to create, or reinforce existing, linkages with other groups, both nationally and internationally. There were significant impediments to the use of CMC in mobilising participation and in developing new global linkages. A key hindrance to the use of CMC to mobilise participation was the poverty of online engagements. Interpersonal relations can be difficult via email, and online involvement can be transitory. The chapter concludes that rather than mobilising new cohorts of participation CMC serves to strengthen existing networks.

in Cyberprotest

This chapter explores the ways in which environmental activists view and negotiate the paradox of using the potentially environmentally damaging technology of computer-mediated communication (CMC). By negotiating the quandaries, many activists are able to resolve their tensions. The different ways in which they do so can be isolated into main tendencies, but such classification illustrates some of the basic diversities between participants of the British environmental movement. The chapter examines the consequences of this negotiation of techno-environmentalism. It begins with an appraisal of the attitudes to technology espoused by environmentalists. The chapter explores their views on CMC and their understandings of the environmental consequences of computer usage. Environmental activists also overcome the apparent contradictions in their use of CMC and their preference for appropriate technology by mitigating the environmentally damaging effects of computer usage.

in Cyberprotest

The threat of surveillance has led many environmentalists to fear that computer-mediated communication (CMC) is another temporary, rather than a long-standing, space for resistance. This chapter examines environmental activists' perceptions of, and reactions to, online surveillance and counter-strategy, and the implications these threats have for CMC as a space for activism. It describes the way in which these perceptions inform and affect their use of CMC are considered, detailing tactics which the interviewees have employed to negotiate surveillance. The chapter outlines the responses of the state and corporate bodies to environmentalists' CMC. The online surveillance and its associated counter-strategies form an additional dynamic to the tensions between the threats and opportunities of CMC use for environmentalists. The chapter considers the impact of these tensions upon the perception of CMC as a new space for activism.

in Cyberprotest