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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) might contribute to the formation of new forms and processes of politics, or cyberspace itself may become normalised, its politics merely reflecting offline politics. This chapter outlines the most suitable theoretical framework for the analysis of environmentalists' activities to establish a coherent understanding of technological change. Social movement theories explain the formation, nature and workings of social movements, and explore the how and the why of their actions and their impact upon civil society. Any examination of CMC use by activists requires not only an understanding of the processes of political activism but a framework through which technological change can be conceptualised. There has been relatively little attempt to examine the implications of CMC use within social movement debates.