Values and green politics : a rhetorical interpretation of the role of values in green political processes

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Tim othy Tenbensel

A thesis subm itted for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

of the A ustralian N ational University.


Except where otherwise indicated this thesis is my own work.

Timothy Tenbensel




This dissertation w ould not have been possible w ithout the long-term and unfailing su p p o rt provided by Barry H indess. I am very grateful for his w illingness to let me explore and experim ent in som etim es uncharted waters. I also w ould like to thank Elim Papadakis, Clive Bean and Doug McEachern for their in p u t and feedback th roughout the process.

I w ish to express my g ratitu d e to the Political Science Program at the A ustralian N ational U niversity's Research School of Social Sciences for the generous provision of resources and facilities, and for enabling me to produce m y thesis in a stim u latin g academ ic environm ent. Thanks in particular m ust go to the adm inistrative staff of the program , especially Christine Treadwell for her assistance in the final stages.




This thesis explores the role of values in the conduct of green politics. In political science and sociology this topic is m ost com m only addressed in term s of theoretical approaches that aim to identify green politics in terms of a distinct set of values. Such approaches attribute the em ergence and grow th of green politics to value change. I argue th at this conventional w isdom is based on a m isu n d erstan d in g of the significance of values in political processes. One consequence of this m isu n d erstan d in g is that a num ber of typical issues th at face green political organisations are not adequately addressed. In particular, attem pts to identify green politics in term s of values d isreg ard the am b ig u ity th at is a central feature of norm ative political discourse.

In this thesis I develop an alternative approach which considers values as a type of good reason w hich is deployed in the context of rhetorical argum ent. In doing so, I investigate the relationship betw een values and other types of rhetorical reasoning. Green politics is a type of politics in w hich norm ative reasons are characteristically p riv ileg ed in political discourse. I refer to this rhetorical privileging as 'value primacy'.


Introduction... 1

Chapter 1: Green Politics and The Value Identity Thesis... 15

1.1. The Distinctiveness of Green Politics... 16

1.1.1. New Politics, New Social Movements, New Demands, New Parties...17

1.1.2. Social Characteristics of Green Support... 20

1.1.3. Interpreting the Social Bases...24

1.1.4. Interpreting Movement Motivations...30

1.2. The Value Identity Thesis...31

1.2.1. Attributional Approaches... 31

1.2.2. Transformational A pproaches...36

1.2.3. Value Identity and Rationality...40

1.2.4. Value Coherence, Choice and Change... 42

1.3. Questioning the Value Identity Thesis...45

1.3.1. Content of the Green Paradigm... 46

1.3.2. Ambiguous Implications of Green V alues...47

1.3.3. The Pervasiveness of Normative Conflict... 49

1.4. Conclusion... 52

Chapter 2: Value Distinction and Ambiguity...53

2.1. Attributional Approaches... 53

2.1.1. The Weberian and Functionalist Background... 54

2.1.2. Values as Variables... 59

2.1.3. Techniques of Value Distinction... 62

2.1.4. Accounting for Empirical N oise...67

2.2. Transformational Approaches...70

2.2.1. The Rationality of the Green Movement... 70

2.2.2. Normative Diagnosis...74


2.4. Conclusion... 85

Chapter 3: A Rhetorical Approach to V a lu es... 86

3.1. The Rhetorical Approach...87

3.1.1. Rhetoric and Argument...87

3.1.2. Audiences... 89

3.2. Values and Rhetoric... 95

3.2.1. The Rhetorical Ambiguity of Values... 95

3.2.2. Values and Other Types of Reasons...98

3.3. Value Primacy... 105

3.3.1. The Rhetorical Use of Values as Techniques of Distinction...107

3.3.2. Rhetorical Competence and Recognition...108

3.4. Conclusion: Contrasting Value Identity and Rhetorical Approaches... 110

Chapter 4: Value Rationality and Primacy in Green Politics Literature...113

4.1. Green Politics and Normative Identity... 113

4.1.1. The Content of the Green Normative Repertoire... 114

4.1.2. Value Coherence and Choice... 118

4.1.3. Value Change and Implementation... 121

4.2. Green Value Primacy... 124

4.2.1. Values and Technical Rationality...124

4.2.2. Values and Pragmatic Criteria... 126

4.2.3. Values and Self-Interest... 128

4.2.4. Green Value Primacy and E nvironm entalism ...130

4.3. A Rhetorical Interpretation of Green Politics... 133

4.3.1. The Rhetorical Functions of Green V alues... 133

4.3.2. Green Political Participation... 135

4.3.3. Value Primacy and Social Bases of Green Politics... 137


Chapter 5: Green Value Ambiguity and Primacy in an

Australian Context... 143

5.1. The Argumentative Context... 144

5.1.1. Australian Green Politics, 1991... 144

5.1.2. The Audience: 'Greens Policy and Networking Forum '... 149

5.2. Contentious Issues and the Ambiguity of Values... 152

5.2.1. Proscription...153

5.2.2. Organisational Structure...157

5.3. The Rhetorical Primacy of Values... 161

5.3.1. Values and Practicality... 161

5.3.2. Normative Primacy and Rhetorical Skill...163

5.4. Ambiguities in the Normative Repertoire...166

5.4.1. Individuals and Groups... 166

5.4.2. Unity and Diversity...170

5.5. Conclusion... 172

Chapter 6: The Perverse Effects of Value Primacy... 174

6.1. Reconciling Diversity and U nity...174

6.2. Managing the Boundaries of Green Party Identity...179

6.3. Resolving Conflict...187

6.4. The Failures of Normative Rationality... 194

6.5. Conclusion...197

Chapter 7: The Misplaced Faith in Green Value Rationality... 200

7.1. Self-fulfilling Prophesies of Failure...201

7.1.1. Normative Organisational Design...201

7.1.2. Conflict: 'Fundi v Realo'... 206


7.3. Limitations of Green Rationality...218

7.3.1. New Middle Class Politics...219

7.3.2. Audience Reach... 223

7.3.3. The 'Control' of Normative Rhetoric... 226

7.4. Conclusion...230

Chapter 8: Conclusion...231

8.1. The Argument Against Value Identity... 231

8.2. A Summary of Perverse Effects... 233

8.3. Characterising Green Politics... 236

8.4. Some Final Reflections on the Role of Values... 238

Reference List...242

Appendix ...259

List of Tables

Chapter 1 Table 1.1: Cotgrove's Counter-paradigms...41



We want to do politics differently (Christabel Chamarette, The Canberra Times, 5 June 1993).

Christabel C ham arette is one of tw o senators from the W estern A ustralian G reens. Together w ith other m inor parties, the WA Greens have held the balance of pow er in the A ustralian Senate since the M arch 1993 federal election. In the current A ustralian political context, Senator C ham arette's ideas about doing politics differently, and those of her senate colleague Dee M argetts, have taken on an enorm ous significance to m ajor political parties, the m edia, and m any other groups involved in the institutional political process. Because of their strategic position, they have been able to m ake a num ber of substantial changes to the w ays in w hich significant governm ent decisions have been m ade such as the 1993 Budget and the N ative Title Act. Their dem ands are m ost frequently expressed in term s of g re a te r co m m u n ity c o n su lta tio n an d p a rtic ip a tio n in g o v e rn m e n t decision-m aking. In the A u stralian p ress, these d em an d s have been characteristically p o rtray ed as indicative of the m averick approach and naivety of the green senators.


p ro fo u n d political changes. In the introduction to C apra and Spretnak's

Green Politics, James Robertson states '(t)he new w ays of doing politics and governing ourselves will m atch the new p attern s of activity, new stru ctu res of society and new system s of beliefs p rev alen t in the next historical period - the next stage of hum an developm ent - that is now due' (Capra & Spretnak 1984: xxiii).

This new w ay of doing politics typically includes a num ber of ingredients. G reen political actors have been noted for their w illingness to question e sta b lis h e d fe a tu re s of re p re se n ta tiv e d em o cracy . T hey ad v o cate consultative, p articip ato ry and 'non-hierarchical' m eth o d s of decision­ making. The different ways of doing politics adopted by greens are not just a feature of their involvem ent in p arliam en tary politics. M any of these ideas and practices can also be found in a range of organisations that make u p n ew social m ovem ents: the e n v iro n m en ta l, peace, an ti-n u clear, fem in ist an d in d ig en o u s p eoples m ovem ents. This social m ovem ent backdrop to green politics is also indicative of the range and the content of green political orientations.

If greens 'do politics differently', w hat is it that is different about their action? Greens them selves frequently claim th at their new ways of doing politics are founded upon a distinct set of values. G reen political actors regard their actions as expressions of their com m itm ent to values such as autonom y, equality, participation, consensus and sensitivity to ecological and social diversity. The w orld's m ost fam ous green party, die Grünen in G erm any, describes itself as being b u ilt u p o n the fo u n d atio n of four 'pillars' or 'basic principles': ecological sustainablility, economic and social justice, g rassroots dem ocracy and non-violence. These principles, like those referred to by Parkin and R obertson, are norm ative principles. Values constitute the nam e of w hat is considered by m any greens to be the first ever national green party, the New Zealand 'Values Party', which was form ed in 1972.


political science of Ronald Inglehart and Frankfurt school critical theory of Jean Cohen. It is a point of connection betw een the functionalism of Mary D ouglas and the radical green political theory of Robyn Eckersley. It is an a ssu m p tio n sh a re d by th e c o n v en tio n a l A n g lo -A m erican p o litical philosophy of Robert Goodin and the French sociology of Alain Touraine. Such w ide-ranging concurrence is im pressive. C ertainly, if these authors w ere to m eet to discuss green politics they w ould find plenty of scope for d isag reem en t. But none w o u ld have any problem w ith the idea that values and norm ative principles are at the core of a distinct green political identity. Accordingly, each of these approaches represent versions of w hat I have term ed the 'value id en tity ’ interpretation of green politics.

I certainly agree that greens do things differently because of the values to w hich they express com m itm ent an d th at th ere are certain political p ositions th at are consistently taken by greens w hich they regard as u n d erw ritten by values. N evertheless, the central argum ent of my thesis is that the value identity interpretation of the relationship betw een values and green politics is seriously m isguided and does not survive close scrutiny. Value identity approaches m ake for rather restrictive depictions of the scope of green politics and set u p im possible p aram eters for assessing green experience. For those w ho are broadly sym pathetic to the aims and objectives of green politics, it constitutes a recipe for political pessim ism .

My contention is that value identity approaches are inadequate because they operate from a basic m isu n d erstan d in g about w hat sort of things values and norm ative prin cip les are. As a consequence of this basic m isu n d erstan d in g , these approaches are not in a good position to deal w ith the sorts of issues, tasks and problem s that green political actors typically face. Indeed, the analysis p u rsu ed in this thesis suggests that m any of the typical problem s faced by green parties and organisations are either a direct result of, or are significantly exacerbated by the habit of thinking that green politics represents a distinctive value paradigm .


values do so on the basis of conscious choice. An even m ore significant accom panying assum ption is th at social change can be characterised in term s of m ovem ent tow ards (or aw ay from) standards of green rationality. In this view, social conflict is understandable in term s of conflict between adherents of the green value paradigm and those w ho ad o p t different or opposing stan d ard s of rationality. These assum ptions am ount to rather stro n g conceptions of value ratio n ality and the capacity of academ ic analysts to discern the im plications of green values. Each of them offer versions of the green claim that a different set of social arrangem ents will resu lt from increasing ad h eren ce and com m itm ent to the alternative value paradigm . These analyses su p p o rt the contention that green politics is a politics of conversion, and that the success of green politics can be assessed in term s of the extent of conversion. This applies regardless of w h eth er or n o t these theorists are sy m p ath etic to the green political project.

G reens are by no m eans the only political actors w ho have interpreted their ow n activities in term s of com m itm ent to basic values. Max Weber, w ho has had a significant influence on the conceptualisation of values and politics, h ad m uch to say about political m ovem ents of his time which based their political actions upon an ’ethic of ultim ate ends’. Weber was keenly interested in the effects of action based upon values. But he certainly w ould not accept th at the proposed 'new structures of society' w ould come about as the consequence of 'doing politics differently'. His reason for not doing so is straightforw ard. W eber view ed all claims to ratio n ality w ith a certain irony. A ccording to W eber, any form of rationally purposive action produces unanticipated results. This is more than an assertion that we can never fully know the results of our actions. System atic engagem ent in particular kinds of rational behaviour can be show n to lead to particular sorts of u n in ten d ed consequences. The iron cage of form al rationality is the best know n of m any exam ples of this dynam ic in W eber's w ritings.


tru e ’ (W eber 1958a: 123). Action consciously u n d ertak en on the basis of value rationality frequently produces results th at are hard ly in keeping w ith such rationality, and which m ay even be the opposite to those that are intended. This dynam ic can be identified as a 'perverse effect'.1 Some parallels to this them e can be found the w ork of contem porary social th eo rists w ho have tak en u p them es of N ietzsche and Foucault. In particular, the w ork of Jeffrey Minson (1985; 1993) and W illiam Connolly (1987; 1991) are useful here. Both authors have questioned the wisdom of g ro u n d in g political action on fundam ental ethical principles. The results of such action are often quite different to w hat is bargained for.

M inson has concentrated on w hat he calls the 'eccentricity' of political action th at is d eriv e d from fu n d a m e n ta l ethical p rin cip les. He is concerned to trace a num ber of characteristic problem s th at arise from b asing political action first an d forem ost u p o n 'fo u n d atio n al' ethical principles. For M inson, '(i)t is not the (abstract) content b u t rather the d ep lo y m en t of ethical categories and p rin cip les as an u ltim ate and c o m p r e h e n s iv e e v a l u a t i v e y a r d s t ic k w h ic h c h a r a c t e r i s e d foundationalism , and which renders these categories politically eccentric' (M inson 1985: 150-1). He d raw s our attention to the serious pitfalls of attaching political claims to ’non-negotiable' norm ative principles. These pitfalls are ev id en t p articu larly w hen this non-negotiability involves a p rin c ip le d re fu s a l to tr e a t p ra c tic a l c o n se q u e n c e s as re le v a n t considerations. M inson argues, for instance, that m any highly norm ative approaches to politics actually make it easier for opponents to underm ine su b stan tiv e political claim s (1985: 156-7). H o w ev er, th is relation is characteristically ignored by those for w hom the principle is sacrosanct, because such practical considerations sh o u ld not o v erride m atters of principle. He p u rsu e s this a rg u m en t w ith reference to the political activities of both sides of the abortion debate (1985), and to the issue of sexual harassm ent (1993).


C onnolly argues that any regim e of ethical identity m ust at some stage deal w ith 'the problem of evil' (1991: 1-8).2 That is, som ew here along the line it becom es clear to those w ho adhere to ethical identities th at their experience is out of kilter w ith the norm ative interpretation of the w orld they espouse. This discordance usually requires some sort of explanation. Such e x p la n a tio n s tak e on g re a te r im p o rta n c e th e g re a te r the com m itm ent to and inv estm en t in an ethical identity. C onnolly argues th at stro n g ly held ethical identities exhibit stro n g tendencies tow ard establishing categories of deviance in o rd er to cope w ith the disparity betw een norm ative ideals and reality. Thus, w hen norm ative rationality is not fulfilled, or w hen obstacles to value-based action are encountered, such difficulties tend to be attributed to the obverse of the norm atively rational (i.e. evil, the irrational, subversive forces) th at has some sort of 'other' existence (1991: 8). For exam ple, the tem ptation that is confronted by the pu ritan Christian is attributed to the devil. The everyday obstacles to a com m unitarian utopia can be attrib u ted to the inherent selfishness and im perfection of m em bers. In such circum stances, those com m itted to ethical identities typically refuse to recognise that the 'other' is itself the p ro d u ct of the construction of ethical identity. They are blind to the circularity built into their definitions of identity.

R egarding the m ore lim ited range of issues p u rsu e d in this thesis, C o n n o lly 's fo rm u la tio n p ro v id e s an o th e r w ay of a p p ro a ch in g the possibility of perverse effects. One possible im plication is that problem s experienced by groups attem pting to im plem ent norm ative rationality are likely to be in terp reted as evidence of the 'norm ative other'. Thus, the p ro b lem s, ten sio n s and d ifficu lties th a t are a ck n o w led g ed can be considered as direct products of value-based identities. This is a suggestion to be pursued in the course of this thesis.

U n fo rtu n ate ly , m ost s ta n d a rd trea tm e n ts of values an d n o rm ativ e rationality in the fields of political science, sociology and social theory have ignored the them e of unintended consequences and perverse effects.


In contrast, m ore prom inent W eberian notions of value choice and value co n flict are w o v en into the fabric of v alu e id e n tity a p p ro ach es. A ccordingly, m ost of the academ ic literatu re ab o u t values and green politics adopts a noticeably unironic view of values and value rationality. But the phenom ena of u n intended consequences and perverse effects are hig h ly relev an t to the stu d y of green politics. A ccording to H erbert Kitschelt, 'the p u rsu it of a new form of organization in ecology parties pro d u ces results th at are (not) in agreem ent w ith the in ten d ed logic of c o n stitu en cy re p re se n ta tio n ' (1989: 5).3 The core green constituency identified by Kitschelt is that which regards itself as com m itted to green political principles. Kitschelt's research contributes to a grow ing body of evidence about green groups and organisations which place a high priority on norm ative com m itm ent and integrity. Such groups seem to be greatly susceptible to p a rticu la r types of tensions an d difficulties in cluding som etim es b itte r and d e stru ctiv e in te rn al conflicts an d en tren ch ed political frustration. These effects are clearly not desirable from the point of view of activists them selves. If green political identity is defined in term s of values then there are good reasons to suspect that the problem s experienced by these groups are closely linked to the intensity of their norm ative identity.

I have followed a rather different m ethodological path in order to pursue som e of the sam e them es as those su g g ested by W eber, M inson and C onnolly. U nlike M inson and Connolly, w ho approach these issues via the term inology of ethics, m orals and principles, I have come to consider these questions from a background of political science and sociology where values are the pertinent concept. In order to find a fram ew ork that could su p p o rt a m ore ironic treatm ent of values, how ever, it was necessary to cast fu rth er afield from the stan d ard political science and sociological literature. The m aterial I have found m ost useful has been the work of British social p sychologist M ichael Billig, w ho has in v estig ated the rhetorical use of attitudes, opinions and values in the context of political


arg u m en t. This w ork has grow n out of an in tern al critique of social psychological research techniques, b u t has far w id er im plications, I believe, for the ways in which we can think about the political context of n o rm ativ e discourse. In Billig's account, values are p e rh a p s the m ost flexible, am biguous, and at tim es d o w n rig h t contradictory elem ents of rh e to ric a l d isco u rse. This w ay of c o n ce p tu a lisin g v alu es su g g ests significant problem s for any attem p t to identify political categories in term s of values.

M ethodologically, this thesis starts from Billig's contention that values are rh eto rically ambiguous. This observation is also significant for earlier w riters on rhetoric such as K enneth Burke (1969) and C haim Perelm an and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca (1969). From these m aterials I have attem pted to construct an alternative fram ew ork w ithin w hich it is possible explore the relatio n sh ip betw een values and politics. I have term ed this the 'rh e to ric a l a p p ro a c h ' to values. U n d er such a fram ew ork, values are discernible w hen they are articulated in discourse. The articulation of values, therefore, is considered as beh av io u r rath er than the cause of behaviour. In d raw ing this line, I eschew a favourite device of m uch of the stan d ard social scientific literature which attem pts to diagnose values that underlie actors’ behaviour and orientations.


will be adm itted by a scientific audience. In the sam e way, there are many claim s co n stru cted in term s of n o rm ativ e ra tio n a lity because such argum ents are deem ed adm issible for particular audiences. This provides a fram e for analysing the place of n o rm ativ e ratio n ality in political discourse w ithout assum ing a baseline stan d ard for such rationality.

The next m ethodological elem ent of the rhetorical approach is to compare the rhetorical w eight of different types of reasons. In this thesis, the p a rtic u la r q u estio n I ask is how do n o rm ativ e reaso n s com pare to technical, practical and self-interested reasons. W hen norm ative reasons consistently outrank other types of reasons, this is a state of affairs that I refe r to as 'n o rm a tiv e p rim acy ' or 'v a lu e p rim a cy '. (W ithin this fram ew ork, it w ould also be possible to identify 'technical prim acy' or 'pragm atic prim acy’). The final com ponent of this approach, building on the previous elem ents, is the investigation of the political consequences of privileging a p articu lar type of reasoning. In this thesis, I restrict my attention to the consequences of norm ative prim acy. Like M inson, I am in terested in in v estig atin g contexts in w hich n o rm ativ e reasoning is privileged.

An in trig u in g set of issues arises in circum stances w here norm ative ratio n ality o v errid es o th er types of reasoning. The key in sig h t that em erges from a rhetorical approach is that the rhetorical efficacy of values is largely a function of their ambiguity. A central question that is pursued in this th esis re g a rd s w h a t h a p p e n s w h en v alu es, as in h ere n tly a m b ig u o u s c o n stru cts, are ex p ected to p ro v id e the basis for the establishm ent and m aintenance of organisational boundaries, the conduct of decision-m aking and the resolution of conflict. These are sites where it is possible to discern a range of u n in ten d ed consequences and perverse effects of norm ative rationality.


u n d e rsta n d in g the political significance of values, and show how this fram ew ork can be applied in order to understand a num ber of key features of green politics.

C hapter 1 review s the academ ic literature on green politics w ith a view to e stab lish in g the b a ck g ro u n d an d com m on th rea d s of value id en tity ap proaches. M uch of this literatu re deals w ith the characteristic new m iddle class location of su p p o rt for green politics. Value identity accounts offer m ore plausible connections betw een green styles of participation, political preferences and social location than explanations constructed in term s of in terest. I o u tlin e the w ays in w hich v ario u s theoretical approaches have identified green politics in term s of values and sketch a num ber of associated elem ents of the value identity thesis. The chapter concludes w ith an outline of some features of green politics in which the value id en tity thesis starts to fray aro u n d the edges. In particular, the prevalence of internal conflict w ithin green parties and organisations is a stro n g in d icatio n of the w eaknesses and b lin d sp o ts of value-based approaches.

C hapter 2 attem pts to dem onstrate how the various approaches that share value identity assum ptions come to regard values as the sort of thing that can be used to distinguish social actors and processes, and suggests reasons w hy this im age of values is m islead in g an d problem atic. A nalytical schem es of value distinction stum ble across a great m any exam ples of political action w hich are anom alous. Value identity approaches are not in a position to recognise the am biguity and flexibility of norm ative discourse. How ever, these are features which should be regarded as central to the w ay in which values are actually deployed in political debate. This am biguity of political values is dism issed by value identity approaches as indicative of value deviance, inconsistency or irrationality.


In Chapter 4 the focus returns to green politics. The main purpose of this chapter is to identify the parallels between activist and academic characterisations of green politics. Values occupy a privileged place in much green political literature, overriding reasons such as efficiency, practicality and self-interest as good reasons advanced in justifying or criticising political action. From the rhetorical interpretation of the role of values it is possible to re-interpret much of the established knowledge about green politics. In particular, I argue that the characteristic new middle class location of green support can be seen in terms of the social distribution of specific rhetorical skills and capacities. As such, the green movement provides the 'raw materials' for a politics of value primacy. In the second part of the thesis, consisting of Chapters 5 to 7, I apply the concepts developed in the previous chapters to some examples of the practice of green politics. I am particularly concerned to draw attention to the unintended consequences and perverse effects of green normative rationality neglected by value identity approaches. Throughout these three chapters, my focus moves from microscopic to macroscopic. At the microscopic level is an investigation into the rhetorical use of values by a network of Australian green political activists. In this case study I cover the details of specific debates between greens involved in this network, and address some of the more general issues that arise from green value rationality and primacy. At the macroscopic level I raise a number of more general issues that arise from treating green political activity as primarily an expression of normative rationality.


electronic conference m aterial p ro v id es a c o m p reh en siv e record of discourse, thus lending itself to rhetorical analysis.

The bulk of C h ap ter 5 is spent outlining the political context for the discussions am ong A ustralian greens. These discussions revolve around the a p p ro p ria te lim itatio n s to p a rty m em b ersh ip an d the design of organisational structures. I intend to dem onstrate the centrality of values an d value ratio n ality in these discussions. From this exposition it is ap p aren t that the im plications of green values are highly am biguous and contradictory in the context of these debates. This m aterial provides strong evidence against the contention that green politics operates according to a coherent set of values, and questions the validity of assum ing a rationality of green values.

In C hapter 6 I focus on some of the more general problem s that are created or exacerbated by the rhetorical reliance these A ustralian greens place u p o n valu es. Fairly fu n d am e n ta l issues in c lu d in g the d ra w in g of boundaries around a green party, and resolving conflict w here it arises are found to be especially difficult to m anage w hen p articip an ts regard the prospective organisation first and foremost as an attem pt to em body green norm ative principles.


shared green values are a problem atic basis for co-ordinated, sustained political action.

The em pirical m aterial u sed in this th esis leans to w a rd s a g reater em p h asis on those values th at d raw u p o n them es of p a rticip a to ry democracy, and less em phasis on the specifically ecological content of the green value repertoire. N evertheless, I do not think it is feasible, as Robert Goodin (1992) does, to regard participatory them es as analytically separate from ecological them es. G oodin distinguishes betw een green theories of value (reasons to protect nature) and green theories of agency (reasons to favour radical participatory politics). In his fram ew ork, ecological values are essential to the id en tity and conduct of green politics, w hereas participatory values m ay be desirable but are not essential. This thesis is certainly sy m p ath etic to G oodin's aim s to q u estio n the em phasis on decentralised participatory dem ocracy in the practice of green politics. Unlike G oodin, how ever, I do not believe th at the problem is one of distinguishing betw een first and second division values. Green activists typically refuse to m ake this separation as they regard participatory and ecological values to be closely interconnected. Ecological m etaphors are frequently used to bolster participatory them es, and vice versa. For this reason I do not regard it as feasible to make any such dem arcation, given the m ethodological concern in this thesis to explore the im plications of the w ays greens them selves conceptualise value politics. Instead, the problem s I perceive stem from conceptualising green politics as a project of im plem enting green value per se.

C hapter 8 sum m arises the argum ents of the thesis and concludes by suggesting how the insights gained from the rhetorical approach suggest a m ore ironic view of the relationship betw een values and politics. This analysis su p p o rts the suspicions held by W eber, M inson and Connolly about the pitfalls and dangers of placing excessive w eight upon 'ethics of ultim ate ends' in politics.


Chapter 1: Green Politics and the Value Identity Thesis

The em ergence of the green m ovem ent as a significant force in the politics of w estern dem ocracies has raised m any substantial questions for social theorists and social scientists. A ttem pts to explain the em ergence of green politics have sought to establish ap p ro p riate w ays of characterising this p h en o m en o n . M uch of the lite ra tu re , th erefo re, is co ncerned w ith iden tify in g w h at is different about green politics, and how it can be recognised and distin g u ish ed from other political projects. Since about 1980, a conventional w isdom has em erged which covers a w ide range of theoretical approaches. This conventional w isdom suggests th at the m ost a p p ro p ria te w ay of id en tify in g green politics is in term s of values. P articipants in the green m ovem ent are reg ard ed as possessing shared value com m itm ents th at distinguish them from the rest of the political landscape, and th at lead them to ad o p t particular orientations, lifestyles and forms of political action.

The first p art of this chapter show s that the apparent plausibility of value- based in terp retatio n s of green politics is related to the w eaknesses of interest-based explanations. While it is true that there are characteristic sociological p attern s of green su p p o rt, these p attern s do not easily lend them selves to interest-based in terp retatio n s of the content and style of green politics. Values are seen as p ro v id in g the m issing link betw een social location and green orientations. The range of theoretical approaches that a d o p t this conventional w isdom is certainly im pressive. W hatever their differences on o th er p o in ts, th ere are rem ark ab le sim ilarities betw een theorists as diverse as Ronald Inglehart, Alain Touraine, Mary D ouglas and Robert G oodin regarding the role they attribute to green values and value rationality. This chapter outlines the variety of value identity approaches th at have em erged and h ighlights their com m on ground on a num ber of issues.


th at green values are coherent, and th at sh ared values im ply shared interpretations of these values. The final p a rt of this chapter dem onstrates the lim itatio n s of these assum ptions. I arg u e th at the m ost striking p ro b lem s w ith sta n d a rd v alu e-b ased accounts can be fo u n d in the experience of green p arties an d political o rg an isatio n s. There are a su b stan tial n u m b er of grey areas in w hich the im plications of green values are highly am biguous, and raise m ore problem s than they solve in relation to the day to day political dilem m as faced by greens.

1.1. The Distinctiveness of Green Politics

The term 'green politics' is used in this thesis to refer to an am algam of political orientations th at have their organisational expression in green parties. A lthough environm ental issues are characteristically at the centre of these concerns, green politics has a far w ider scope. In this w ider sense of the term , green politics encom passes m uch the sam e territory as w hat have also been identified as new social m ovem ents, i.e. environm ent, anti-nuclear, peace, fem inist, in d ig en o u s peoples and sexual identity m ovem ents. H ow ever, green politics should not be considered as sim ply the aggregate of all these m ovem ents. A ctivists from the first three m ovem ents typically form the core of the green m ovem ent. These are w hat Jan Pakulski (1991) refers to as 'eco-pax' m ovem ents, and are each characterised by highly universalistic claims. There is a high degree of overlap w ith respect to participation in these m ovem ents. The last three of this list exist far m ore independently of the green m ovem ent. Greens are generally supportive of the aspirations of the 'identity' m ovem ents, as well as som e claim s associated w ith the 'non-institutionalised' socialist m ovem ent. H ow ever, identity aspirations are su p p o rted in term s that are com patible w ith an overall universalist approach to politics, rather than em phasising the particularist elem ent of these m ovem ents.


'green politics' invokes a slightly sh arp er focus than the um brella terms m ost frequently found in the academ ic literature, nam ely 'new politics' (D alton 1984), 'left-libertarianism ' (Kitschelt 1988; 1989) and 'new social m ovem ents' (Cohen 1983; Offe 1985). This slight difference in em phasis is in c o n s e q u e n tia l in the fo llo w in g d isc u ssio n s re g a rd in g p o litical p a rticip a tio n an d social characteristics, such th a t the term s are used interchangeably.

1.1.1. New Politics, New Social Movements, New Demands, New Parties

O ne of the m ost com m on academ ic labels for locating green politics has been the term 'new politics'. W ithin the political science tradition, the recognition of new styles of political participation stem s from an initial in te re s t in e x tra p a rlia m e n ta ry p ro te st activ ity w hich w as in itially described as 'unconventional' and 'outside the political system ’ (Kaase & M arsh 1979). In fact, the initial form ulation of new politics by political scientists such as Barnes, Kaase, D alton and M arsh w as directed more tow ards styles of participation than to the content of political dem ands. H ild eb ran d t and D alton contend that the com m on denom inator of new politics is the em phasis on access to the means of political decision­ m aking, regardless of the ends (H ild eb ran d t & D alton 1978). Concerns ran g in g from o p p o sitio n to U.S. m ilitary in terv en tio n in V ietnam to en v iro n m en tal p o llu tio n and abortion, w ere in te rp re te d as dem ands relating to participation in the political system .1

N o tw ith sta n d in g the em p h asis p laced u p o n p o litical p articip a tio n , increasing atten tio n has been paid to in terp retin g the issues th at are advanced via new politics. N ew politics issues have been defined in contradistinction to class-based politics, which has been identified as the principal electoral cleavage of postw ar w estern democracies. N ew politics issues, therefore, are those which do not fit into a class-based fram ework,


and are not resolvable th ro u g h the sam e corporatist m echanism s th at have been a prom inent feature of the postw ar decades. Environm entalism is a typical exam ple of such an issue. It is regarded as im portant by these political scientists because of both the 'unconventional' forms of political action adopted and because it cannot easily be m ade to fit a class-based fram ew ork.

A b ro ad er stream of sociological interest in new social m ovem ents has dealt w ith the em ergence of these new styles of participation and new issues in a w ider social and cultural context. A lthough there is debate about the degree to which this collection of m ovem ents can be called new, the com m entaries on their political developm ent have m uch in common w ith the new politics accounts. Theorists such as Alain Touraine (1981), Jürgen H aberm as (1981), Jean Cohen (1983; 1985) and Claus Offe (1985) em p h asise the no v elty of form s of political p a rticip a tio n th at have em erged in response to problem s arising from the delim itation of postw ar politics in in d u strialised w elfare states. The restriction of the political agenda to issues of technocratic m anagem ent and the encroachm ent of state techniques of m an ag em en t into the realm of civil society are re g a rd e d as p ro b lem atic d ev elo p m en ts. These changes foster new dem ands to expand the scope for participation in the political sphere and to protect civil society from state intervention. The issues and political dem ands raised by new social m ovem ents reflect dissatisfaction w ith the side effects of the com prom ise betw een labour and capital that m arks postw ar welfare capitalism. Green concern, in this account, emerges as the d etrim en tal effects of the h ead lo n g p u rsu it of econom ic grow th and technological in n o v atio n becom e a p p aren t. These issues ten d to be indigestible w ithin the fram ew ork of conventional politics because by questioning political goals such as economic grow th, m ovem ents threaten the existing bases for political legitimation. At least in the short term, new social m ovem ents occupy a m arginal location w ith regard to institutional politics.


form alised expressions of new politics and new social m ovem ents. Many of these parties, particularly those that have been established since the late 1970s, have adopted the label 'green'. The closure of institutional political channels to innovative dem ands is a p ro m in en t them e of the literature th at deals with the emergence of green parties. Kay Lawson, for example, argues that environm entalist organisations and parties dem onstrate that traditional political parties are not the flexible 'linkage' m echanism s they once w ere, and are no longer able to represent and articulate em ergent political concerns (Lawson 1988). Sim ilarly, both A lan Scott (1990) and H erbert Kitschelt (1989) identify corporatist procedures of decision m aking b etw een g o v ern m en t, unions and b u sin ess as u n resp o n siv e to new politics dem ands. The em ergence of new political parties has been a key d e v elo p m e n t of the 1980s. These in stitu tio n a l accounts reg a rd this em ergence as a reaction to the m arg in ality of new politics issues, as p a rtic ip a n ts in n ew m o v em en ts e x p erien c ed th e lim ita tio n s and fru stratio n s of political action based u p o n ex tra-p arliam en tary p rotest (Frankland & Schoonmaker 1992; Papadakis 1984).

Central them es raised by these parties cover the sam e spectrum of issues that have been articulated by the new social m ovem ents. In his study of the program m es of E uropean green parties Thom as Poguntke identifies ten c h a ra c te ris tic e le m e n ts in c lu d in g : e n v iro n m e n ta lis m ; a n ti-n u c le a r is m ; classical lib eralism (su p p o rt for ab o rtio ti-n , divorce ati-nd m in o ritie s ); s e lf-d e te rm in a tio n (a lte rn a tiv e life s ty le , in d iv id u a l au to n o m y ); fem in ism ; p a rtic ip a to ry d em o cracy ; leftism ( w o r k e r 's p articip atio n , societal control of econom ic processes, egalitarianism ); su p p o rt for the T hird W orld (re d istrib u tio n from N o rth to South); unilateral disarm am ent and opposition to m issile deploym ent (Poguntke 1989).2


Researchers into green parties and new social m ovem ent organisations, have identified another area of novelty, nam ely, the organisational form w hich these g ro u p s characteristically a d o p t (K itschelt 1989; M üller- Rommel 1990). Often this organisational form is explicitly designed as an alternative to the stru ctu re of trad itio n al parties and organisations in o rd er to counter their exclusionary practices and barriers to participation. The new parties, as described by Kitschelt in his stu d y of G erm an and B elgian g reen p a rtie s , a tte m p t to create s tru c tu re s d e riv e d from decentralised, libertarian and participatory principles. This, of course, is a fu rth er m anifestation of the 'unco n v en tio n al' form s of political action th a t hav e b een id e n tifie d as fe a tu re s of n ew social m o v em en t organisations. Innovative organisational stru ctu re and p rocedures also serve to in d icate th a t greens are not co n ten t sim p ly to establish them selves as new players in a well established gam e of politics. They show that greens are also intent on changing the rules.

1.1.2. Social Characteristics of Green Support

Perhaps the best developed and m ost utilised tool of both social theory and social scientific research, particularly th ro u g h o u t the 1970s and early 1980s, was explanation in term s of social-structural location. It is not surprising that this tool has been extensively applied to the phenom ena of green politics. In v estig atio n s into the social bases of green political participation eventually tu rn ed up a rem arkably consistent story. The picture was quite blurred if one was looking at general su p p o rt for social m o v em en ts an d fav o u ra b le o rie n ta tio n s to w a rd s the issu es th ey prom oted. H ow ever, sociological p attern s becam e som ew hat clearer in attem pts to explain p articipation in m ovem ent activities or voting for green political candidates. It has been clearest of all w hen focused upon the m em bership of green political form ations.


of lim ited utility in explaining en v iro n m en tal concern in the U nited States in the 1970s. Of the possible explanatory variables suggested, only age and education appeared to be of any significance, and this significance was m oderate at best. Van Liere and D unlap interpreted the general low level of explanation for environm ental concern as indicating that such concern was d istrib u ted w idely and evenly th ro u g h o u t U.S. society. To s u p p o rt this co n ten tio n they cited am b ig u o u s associations betw een incom e and environm ental concern, and negligible relationships betw een occupational prestige and environm ental attitudes.

O ther analyses, how ever, show ed that the dism issal of social location of green politics was prem ature. W hen certain crucial distinctions w ithin the m iddle class are m ade, significant stru ctu ral p attern s becom e apparent. A m ong the first of such stu d ies w as Frank P a rk in ’s research into participants in the C am paign for N uclear D isarm am ent (CND) in Britain in the 1960s. Parkin (1968) identified a specific fraction of the m iddle class, nam ely those em ployed in welfare and creative professions, as the basic constituency of CND. He m ade the distinction w ithin the professional m iddle class betw een welfare and creative professionals and 'commercial' professionals engaged in the production and distribution process (Parkin 1968: 180). He also rep o rted th at three q uarters of m iddle class CND activists w ere em ployed by public sector or n o n -p ro fit organisations (Parkin 1968: 189). Basically, the cluster of occupations that Parkin terms as welfare and creative, has since been labelled the 'social-cultural' sector, or the 'reproductive sector'. It includes such occupations as academics, social service providers, arts and culture professionals, journalists and clergy.3

The profile id en tified by Parkin has been confirm ed m ore recently. H an sp eter K riesi's in v estig atio n s into public a ttitu d e s to new social m o v em en ts in the N e th e rla n d s fo u n d th at p a rtic ip a tio n in h ig h er education and em ploym ent in social-cultural occupations had the largest effects upon m obilisation potential for these m ovem ents in general. Each


of these effects w as m ultiplied w hen com bined w ith age (Kriesi 1989).4 Jorgen G oul A ndersen's analysis of the social bases of environm ental s u p p o r t in D e n m ark re p o rte d th a t e m p lo y m e n t in th e 'p u b lic rep ro d u ctiv e' sector for non-m anual em ployees is of the sam e order of im p o rtan ce as age an d e d u catio n in acco u n tin g for differences in environm entalism (Goul A ndersen 1990b). In A ustralia, Pakulski's study of Tasm anian green m ovem ent participants, and P ap ad ak is’ research into su p p o rt for environm entalism confirm the distinctive profile regarding age and education (Pakulski 1991: 182; Papadakis 1993: 166).

S tudies of the social profile have also h ig h lig h ted categories of the population w ho are outside the scope of green politics. Kriesi investigated p a rtic ip a tio n in the D utch peace m o v em en t an d fo u n d sig n ifican t occupational barriers were present.

no large employer, no protective agent, no computer specialist, and virtually no farmer and no unskilled worker have ever participated in the peace movement, while more than half of those engaged in other social and cultural services, half of the traditional professionals, more than a third of the medical personnel, and more than a fourth of teachers have done so. In other words, there seem to be class-specific barriers to a heavier involvement in the peace movement (Kriesi 1989: 1096).

The d ev elo p m en t of green political p arties, p a rtic u la rly in E urope provided researchers w ith a new source of m aterial. Research into green party voting has initially concentrated on the G erm an Greens. M üller- Rommel rep o rte d th at the su p p o rt base for die Grünen in 1982 was constituted overw helm ingly by people u n d er the age of 45. There was an over-representation of green supporters from the ranks of those w ho were either currently stu d y in g at tertiary level, or w ho had already achieved tertiary qualifications (M üller-Rommel 1985). Bürklin (1987), and Müller- Rom m el (1989) found sim ilar o v e r-re p resen tatio n of y oung, highly educated voters am ong su p p o rters of die Grünen th ro u g h o u t the 1980s.


Bennulf and H olm berg's analysis of 1988 Swedish Election Study data has p ro v id ed som e detail in term s of occupational categories (Bennulf & H olm berg 1990). O ccupational groups over-represented am ongst Swedish G reen Party voters included 'm iddle w hite-collar' and 'p ro fe ssio n a ls/ m a n a g e rs '.5 G reen Party voters were slightly m ore likely to be in public sector em ploym ent, and were younger and m ore highly educated than the electorate as a whole.

Research into m em bership of green organisations and political parties has b ro u g h t these social and dem ographic contours into sh arp est relief. This research confirms the broader findings regarding age and education, and enables a m ore fine-grained account of the lab o u r force location of m o v em en t p a rticip a n ts. C otgrove and D uff's analysis co m p ared the labour force locations of British environm entalists to the profile for the general public. They found the m em bers of tw o p ro m in en t national e n v iro n m e n ta l o rg a n isa tio n s w ere d isp ro p o rtio n a te ly em p lo y ed in service, welfare and creative occupations, or w ere studying. W orkers in m anual occupations and housew ifes were under-represented (Cotgrove & Duff 1980: 342). This evidence led them to regard the occupational setting as crucial in accounting for environm entalism , particularly the distinction betw een m arket and non-m arket oriented workplaces.

The m ost thorough stu d y of this kind was undertaken by R üdig, Bennie and Franklin w ho surveyed 4000 m em bers of the British G reen Party. A clear p attern of age distribution show ed that those u n d er the age of 45 w ere over-represented in party m em bership, w hereas all age categories over 45 w ere u n d er-rep resen ted . O ver half the m em bership rep o rted h o ld in g a tertiary degree com pared w ith just 7% of the total British population. R egarding those presently em ployed, professionals accounted for half the total of green p arty m em bers. C o rresp o n d in g ly , m anual w o rk ers, clerical and sales w orkers w ere heavily u n d e r-re p resen ted categories (Rüdig, Bennie & Franklin 1991). Only a quarter of m em bers


w ere em ployed by a private firm or com pany in com parison to over half the general population.6

1.1.3. Interpreting the Social Bases

A lthough the findings reveal substantial convergence regarding the social characteristics of green su p p o rt, they p resent a n u m ber of problem s of in terp retatio n u n d er stan d ard social-structural explanatory fram ew orks. N one of the key variables of age, ed u catio n and location w ithin the professional m iddle class had previously played large explanatory roles in political sociology, w hile the variables th at h ad d o m in ated political sociology, such as class, ethnicity and relig io u s affiliation, w ere of tan g en tial significance to the stu d y of social m ovem ent participation. M em bership of a specific class, ethnic or religious category could be easily linked to the notion of interest, as attitu d in al and voting preferences of these categories could be interpreted as expressions of the interests of that category. The variables associated w ith m ovem ent participation did not easily lend them selves to interest-based accounts.

Some com m entators on the G erm an Greens have attem pted to interpret the findings relatin g to age and ed u catio n as evidence of a form of interest-based determ ination of green support. The analyses of Jens Alber and W ilhelm Biirklin focused u p o n the su b sta n tia l levels of green su p p o rt from social categories not in paid em ploym ent. Alber described the typical Green su pporter in the early 1980s as young, highly educated and u n em p lo y ed , as the lab o u r m ark et w as not able to absorb the increased nu m b ers of g rad u a tes w hich h ad been fuelled by rap id ly expanding higher education and the baby-boom generation (Alber 1989). A ccording to Biirklin, this oversupply created a significant category of voters w ho were not adequately 'socially integrated' and this lack of social integration accounted for their anti-establishm ent political orientations (Biirklin 1987). Alber contends that green party su p p o rt should be treated


as a tem p o rary phenom enon, a 'phase-specific constellation of factors (that) has resu lted in cohorts g rad u atin g from u n iv ersity w ith blocked mobility chances, becom ing a negatively privileged acquisition class' (1989: 200).

Both authors have been criticised for ignoring contradictory indications from their ow n evidence, in p articu lar their failure to deal w ith the substantial and increasing proportions of green su p p o rters w ho were in paid em ploym ent (Kitschelt 1988; P apadakis 1988). Papadakis (1988: 446) also notes, w ith reg ard to Alber, th at a higher p ro p o rtio n of G erm an Green su p p o rte rs w ere em ployed than C hristian D em ocrat and Social D em ocrat supporters. A part from these w eaknesses, Alber and Bürklin also neglected the concurrent em ergence of green constituencies beyond W est G erm an y w h ere the lab o u r m ark e t co n d itio n s w ere n o t so unfavourable for the young tertiary educated.

An alternative basis for interest derived accounts of green politics shifts the focus to the specific location of green su p p o rt w ithin the paid labour force. These interpretations contend that green politics reflects the specific interests of an occupational or class category. Initially, som e M arxian w riters c h arac terise d e n v iro n m e n ta lism in term s of m id d le class protection of class privilege in universalist guise (Enzensberger 1974). H ow ever, as Robyn Eckersley points out, such critiques ignored the crucial d istin c tio n s w ith in th e m id d le class (E ckersley 1989: 210). M ore commonly, it has been the concentration of public sector em ploym ent that has attracted variations of class interest argum ents. Rolf G erritsen, for exam ple, argues that the increased influence of environm entalism in the public policy arena facilitates redistribution of occupational pow er and the expansion of em ploym ent opportunities for m em bers of the new m iddle class (Gerritsen 1990). This argum ent resonates w ith earlier discussions of the 'N ew Class' (Bruce-Briggs 1979) or the 'professional m anagerial class' (Ehrenreich & E hrenreich 1979) in w hich the interests of public sector em ployees in p ro fessio n al service o ccu p atio n s w ere lin k ed to the m aintenance and expansion of the know ledge-based welfare state.


in te rp re ta tio n s. G oul A n d ersen is critical of the new class in terest argum ent, noting the tenuous connections betw een the issues articulated by the e n v iro n m en tal m ov em en t an d the vag u ely d efin ed in terests a ttrib u te d to the new class (G oul A n d e rse n 1990a: 103). O th er com m entators have sim ilarly pointed out th at the claim s m ade by new social m ovem ent participants are not claims m ade on behalf of the new m iddle class. Any elem ent of p articu larism in green politics involves claims m ade on behalf of other categories, w hich bear little relation to identifiable new m iddle class interests (Eder 1985; Offe 1985). In fact, m any green political claim s fit very uncom fortably w ith the interest-based argum ent. As Philip Lowe and W olfgang Riidig observe.

The demands of radical political ecology for fundamental changes in industrial society do not accord with this model. The financing of the welfare state is dependent on continued economic growth - why should it be in the interests of those who work within it to demand the end of economic growth and a halt to major technological projects? (Lowe & Rüdig 1986: 522).

Robyn Eckersley extends this p o in t to su g g est th a t in term s of the definition of interest offered by the class interest hypothesis, the core participants in the green m ovem ent are well aw are th at th ro u g h their actions and dem ands they are 'quite deliberately seeking to "bite the hand that feeds them ’" (Eckersley 1989: 222).

C ontrary to the above analyses that stipulate that the new m iddle class is well placed to p u rsu e its interests, C otgrove and D uff claim th at the political m arginality of green politics reflects a peripheral location in the occupational structure.

environmentalism is an expression of the interests of those whose class position in the non-productive sector locates them at the periphery of the institutions and processes of industrial capitalist societies. Hence, their concern to win greater participation and influence and thus to strengthen the political role of their members (Cotgrove & Duff 1980: 341).


central economic and political locations. In a sim ilar vein, Claus Offe has interpreted the evidence regarding w ho does not participate in new social m ovem ents according to a sim ilar distinction. He observes th at 'the classes, strata, and g ro u p s th at are p en etrated least by the concerns, d em an d s, and form s of action of the "new" p arad ig m are exactly the "principal" classes of capitalist societies, nam ely, the in d u strial w orking class and the holders and agents of econom ic and adm inistrative pow er' (Offe 1985: 835). O n this basis, Offe suggests th at it is the absence of stru ctu ral im peratives, defined as location in the principal classes, that enables new social m ovem ent su p p o rters to ad o p t universalistic political o rien tatio n s.

These in terp retatio n s are fram ed in term s of w here new m iddle class in te re sts do not lie. Sim ilarly, political scientists such as D alton and In g le h a rt have a rg u e d th a t e n g a g e m e n t in n ew p o litics reflects corresponding disengagem ent from the constraints of class-based politics. A ccording to D alton, m em bers of the new m iddle class, and the better educated are freed from the traditional social bases of the party system and are subsequently m ore likely to be influenced by new political concerns (Dalton 1984: 107). Inglehart’s theory of postm aterialism is sim ilarly built upo n the contention that those w ho have had their im m ediate needs for econom ic security satisfied d u rin g adolescence and early adulthood are free to address political issues that arise from the p u rsu it of quality of life (Inglehart 1977; Inglehart 1990). Because these conditions have been more prevalent for postw ar generations than those born before 1945, there is a m ark ed co n cen tratio n of new politics su p p o rt am ong the y o u n g er generation. Education, according to Inglehart, serves as a good indicator of form ative affluence, but is not significant in its ow n right.

The sim ple correlation betw een form ative affluence and new politics is not the only way of accounting for the significance of age and education. A ccording to Goul A ndersen, ’it seems more likely that it is the exposure


constituency of new social m ovem ents is d raw n prim arily from 'those w ho have the easiest cognitive access to the particular nature of systemic irrationalities or those w ho are the m ost likely victim s of cum ulative deprivations' (Offe 1985: 850). Eckersley's interpretation is essentially the same: 'the class least likely to be constrained from p u rsu in g rem edial action is the new class .... by virtue of its high education and relative autonom y from the p ro d u ctio n process’ (Eckersley 1989: 221). Tertiary ed u catio n , arg u es E ckersley, enables p eo p le to a d o p t u n iv ersalistic perspectives and conceive of society as a whole. The green constituency, by virtue of this capacity, engages in w hat Alvin G ouldner (1979) has term ed a 'culture of critical discourse'.7

There are still some attem pts to re-integrate these findings into fam iliar interest-based fram eworks. A ndre Görz (1985) and A ndrew Dobson (1990), for instance, regard the green constituency as politically m arginalised and suggest on this basis that all m arginalised categories in industrial society have a stake in p ro m o tin g green change, rath e r th an being tied to protection of the old order. These are attem pts to salvage some of the logic of rev o lu tio n a ry socialist p o sitio n s, even th o u g h the carrier of the em an cip ato ry role is no longer the w o rking class b u t the 'm ass of disaffected n o n -w o rk ers' (G örz 1985: 35). Such a version of social- structural interpretation relies on the use of the term 'm arginalisation' to fudge the significant difference betw een the young, educated, articulate m iddle class w ho do participate in the green m ovem ent, and the long­ term unem ployed an d retrenched older w orkers w ho do not have the same cultural resources at their disposal and who do not participate to any great extent.8

7 Eckersley departs from Gouldner's usage in crucial respects. According to Gouldner, both the 'technical intelligentsia’ and 'humanist intellectuals' engage in the culture of critical discourse. Eckersley plays down the role of the former, claiming that they are too heavily implicated in industrialism to adopt a sufficiently critical stance (1989: 222). It is unlikely that Gouldner would endorse Eckersley's equating of the relative absence of structural constraint with the absence of structural interests.


To sum m arise, Inglehart, D alton, Offe, Eckersley and Goul A ndersen all claim that green political participation is facilitated by the relative freedom from the structural constraints of industrialism , while Cotgrove and Duff em phasise the stru ctu ral m arginality of green participants. Either way, how ever, these analyses are not considered by these authors as complete accounts of green politics. These in te rp re ta tio n s all place significant em p h asis on characteristics w hich greens, for w h a tev e r reason, are considered not to have, and the variation betw een them centres around w hether this absence signifies deficiency or freedom . N evertheless, the placem ent of so m uch analytical w eight u p o n the absence of particular characteristics makes for a som ew hat fragile basis for explanation, and this is generally recognised.

C otgrove and Duff, for instance, are m indful of the need to find other ways to supplem ent their account w hich em phasises the relative absence of structural interest. Put sim ply, how do environm entalists come to be in 'peripheral' m iddle class occupations rather than in those locations which are central to capitalist production? It w ould be im plausible to suggest that their intra-class location is a result of generational inheritance. N or is it plausible to suggest th at environm entalists choose peripheral locations out of self-interest. C otgrove and Duff suggest therefore th at 'there are strong grounds for concluding that values are a m ajor factor influencing occupational choice' (Cotgrove & Duff 1980: 343) and th at 'those who reject the ideology and values of industrial capitalism are likely to choose careers outside the m arket-place' (1980: 344). Once again, this line can be traced back to Parkin, who argued that social and cultural occupations in the non-profit sector are 'sanctuaries' protecting those w ho inhabit them from implication in the capitalist system (Parkin 1968: 187).

For Dalton and Inglehart, the link betw een the absence of interests and the presence of values is virtually definitional. Value-based politics is the sort of politics you have w hen you d o n 't have interest-based politics.9 The


Table 1.1: Cotgrove's Counter-paradigms.....................................41

Table 1.1:

Cotgrove's Counter-paradigms.....................................41 p.8