Europeanisation of grassroots greens: mobilisation in France, Italy and the UK
Maythorne, Louise Irene
This thesis asks ‘what does europeanisation mean for the strategies and practices of grassroots green groups in Europe?’ and aims to identify the conditions under which these groups become ‘europeanised’. I identify three process of europeanisation: direct europeanisation – when an actor connects directly to the EU, indirect europeanisation – when an actor connects to a europeanised member state and passive europeanisation – when actors europeanise outside of state mechanisms. The grassroots green movement has largely evaded studies of europeanisation and so it is through examining europeanisation at this ‘base’ level, closest to the citizens, that this research makes an original contribution to our understanding of the variables that mediate the process of europeanisation and to our understanding of grassroots green activism in Europe. This thesis takes its analytical framework from social movement theory and uses political opportunity structures and frames as domains in which it looks for evidence of europeanisation. Within these domains I distinguish between European and europeanised activity, teasing out the role of the nation state in mediating europeanisation at a grassroots level. Two cases are examined: anti-road protest and anti-GM protest in Britain, France and Italy between the period 2007-2010. This thesis demonstrates that there is some evidence of europeanisation within grassroots green groups. It encourages a more nuanced understanding of europeanisation as a process that can occur outside the state and amongst actors who do not seek to impact the EU. It finds that both strategic and ideological considerations shape the political opportunity structures to which movements direct themselves. It also finds that the fit between the frames used in protest and the national masterframes is a powerful variable in explaining the extent of social movement europeanisation.