We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The Energies of Activism: Rethinking Agency in Contemporary Climate Change Activism

LEE, CHARLOTTE,ELIZABETH (2013) The Energies of Activism: Rethinking Agency in Contemporary Climate Change Activism. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


This thesis is concerned with the energies of activism, and uses an exploration of the concept of ‘energy’ to rethink the agency of activism, rethinking: what counts as an act, who counts as an actor, and in particular how action is produced in activism. This process of rethinking brings recent theorising around agency more broadly, specifically in relation to non-representational theory, the more-than-human, and affect, into conversation with the practice of activism. The empirical aspect of this research involved three case studies of UK climate change activism, each of which demonstrates a particular form of activism: activism in the form of ‘direct’ action through the protest camps of Camp for Climate Action, activism as a more mundane and regular part of life through the meetings and events of a Transition Town group, and activism as a lifestyle in itself through the low-impact living and building practices of the Lammas eco-village. The methodology involved an immersive participatory approach consisting of periods of observant participation, alongside in-depth interviews with activists, the material from which was then developed into immersive narratives (Summers-Effler, 2010). These narratives aim to illuminate: the role of the more-than-human (Bennett, 2010) in the act of activism, and that emotions and affects are not simply “straightforward ‘prompts’ for activism” (Horton and Kraftl, 2009: 17) in line with emerging activism literature, but instead, alongside the human, the more-than-human, and the act of activism itself, emotions and affect are part of the ‘conditions’ (Ahmed, 2010) for action in activism. In this research, rather than action being literally and linearly produced, the potential for action emerged as a process of aligned and openness to action, and therefore always pivots on the relations between elements rather than the properties of a single element or actor.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Apr 2013 12:24

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter