Social movements in Europe: the rise of environmental governance

Smith, Mark J. (2001). Social movements in Europe: the rise of environmental governance. In: Guibernau, M. ed. Governing European Diversity. London: Sage Publications, pp. 103–138.



This chapter examines the contested nature of the governance of "life politics" within the European Union (EU). In particular, it considers how the EU has become a new site of struggle as communities, collectives and organizations seek to construct or pursue their own identities, lifestyles and values; and at the same time national governments, the EU and other public agencies seek to exert varying degrees of social control. We look first (Section 2) at how these two dimensions of governance (self-organizing governance from below and regulation from above) interact and combine in distinctive ways in different situations. Section 3 then focuses on the role of the trade unions and their relative decline in influencing political decisions. The subsequent sections consider the emergence of new social movements by exploring the development of the environmental or "Green" movements in European societies and in relation to environmental governance within the EU.

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