The Open UniversitySkip to content

The green legacy of 1989: revolutions, environmentalism and the global age

Corry, Olaf (2014). The green legacy of 1989: revolutions, environmentalism and the global age. Political Studies, 62(2) pp. 309–325.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


In the immediate aftermath, the Eastern European revolutions of 1989 were interpreted as a ‘rectifying revolution’: the experiment of 1917 was cast off and liberal democratic institutions were copied from the West. Recent analysis has gone some way to challenging this, suggesting that the 1989 revolutions helped launch historically distinct political methods. Meanwhile it has largely been forgotten that the dissidents and revolutionaries across Eastern Europe also relied on a strong substantive environmentalist critique of industrial society, expansionary economics and instrumental reason. More specifically, many of the human rights and democracy movements began as, or were meshed with, environmentalist organizations, and from very early on dissidents linked their non-violent and anti-authoritarian strategies of resistance to state socialism to explicitly environmentalist critiques of industrialism and growth. This article argues that although environmentalism was overshadowed by human rights and direct demands for political reform it was a significant feature of the revolutionary process in the ways it allowed dissidents to critique socialist as well as capitalist systems, provided a focus to the idea of civil society and, and tapped into a wider emerging globalist political narrative in which the limits of the Earth and of rationalist control over it were made apparent.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 The Author
ISSN: 1467-9248
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 34465
Depositing User: Olaf Corry
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2012 09:34
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 13:43
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU