Environmental justice and the political process: Movements, corporations, and the state

David N. Pellow

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64 Scopus citations


I explore two questions in this article: (1) How has the role of the U.S. state in the political process changed vis-à-vis corporations? (2) What tactical repertoires have movements devised to confront this changing political process? Through the lens of the U.S. environmental movement, I find that (1) the state's policy-making authority has weakened as corporations have become both policy makers and the new targets of challengers, (2) the environmental movement has devised organizing strategies -such as corporate-community compacts or good neighbor agreements - to respond to and influence this new political process, and (3) those segments of the movement that ignore the political economic process are likely to meet with failure.These changes in the political economy constitute a challenge for the political process model. I therefore propose a "political economic process" perspective to extend the political process model and more accurately capture these dynamics. The political economic process perspective evaluates four state-centric assumptions of the political process model (the state as the primary movement target or vehicle of reform, the state policy-making monopoly, capital as just another interest group, and the primacy of the nation-state level of analysis) and demonstrates that the political economic process has changed in dramatic ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-67
Number of pages21
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001

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