Media Type: Article - Recent
Author(s): Peter Nilsson
The UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm 1972 and the Interrelations between Intergovernmental Discourse Framing and Activist Influence Written in the MAHB’s mission you will find: “The MAHB’s core commitment is to develop that [ambitious corrective action to the reduced ability of the planet to support civilization indefinitely] remedy. We propose to do so by fostering collaboration among the millions of citizens, organizations and institutions who share our concern. We propose to grow a global network whose collective knowledge and energy can be harnessed to advance practices and norms that protect the integrity of future generations.”
To this effect, it becomes important to understand the process on which norms and processes are advanced. Studying early environmental organisations and its activists is essential if you have an ambition to effect practices and norms.
Analysing experiences of activists helps us to identify possible ways to have a substantial impact in today’s world.
My paper, The UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm 1972 and the Interrelations between Intergovernmental Discourse Framing and Activist Influence explores how social movements and networks can develop alternative perceptions through a deliberate aim of creating a new understanding of the world, collecting information and discussing the state of the world. But environmental organizations have faced a dilemma: It can be hard to develop or sustain alternative ways of perceiving the world, alternative discourses and fundamental critique within an organization that is somehow incorporated with the dominant groups. On the other hand, it is essential for social movements to reach a broader public and to be accepted by the public and by gatekeepers as holding interesting knowledge. Environmental organizations may have expanded in size and scope strengthening their interests, but this does not mean that the influence of these organizations as advocates of a broader audience has increased. This is logically not the case if NGOs have lost contact with a broader audience and become closer to donors and governments.
To have the initiative, to create specific frames of understanding and to select concepts and a specific perception of the world are central and a necessity for domination. But it is also strategies that ca be used by organizations to enhance their influence. We need to understand the playing field we are in. Which institutions are relevant and how can we expect them to act.
There might be stakeholders with aims to push specific environmental organizations away from viable mass political dissent and probably they will try to enhance other institutions they expect to safeguard their interests. We must consider other institutions that are involved in forming the public’s understanding of the world. And the specific prerequisites of these actors. To take in consideration how authoritative institutions function whose interests are represented? What is in their interests? How can they act to achieve their goals? And the other way around. According to the actions of an institution, what might be their goals?
Considering the numerous existential threats we face in the mid-21st century, understanding organizational behaviour and development will be critical to success. This paper creates a foundational understand of organizations and how they can develop cohesion and cooperation amongst each other. This is important for modern day organizations to understand.
To day there are more collective knowledge than ever, and the scientific community is more unanimous, than ever, of what needs to be done. But still we can see how governments openly disregard this overwhelming knowledge. Without any serious argument’s governments deregulate environmental protection laws, cuts financing for research and extend the worst forms of energy production, deforestation and any forms of activities that drives us even faster towards the threats of humanity. They can act this way and they can do it with popular support.
How is this possible? Whose interests are extended? Who are the stakeholders behind this? How does these actors do to achieve this? The policy of “Divide and rule” has always been an essential tool for domination. Perhaps we ought to study in which factions of different interests are we divided in? Which are the dominant conflicts that is portrayed for us?
How can we reach out to citizens, organizations and institutions with our perception of the world and get it accepted?
Contemporary societies function as systems of domination, not mainly through physical repression but through shaping the information, creating a specific world-view, and making it to the dominating, a system where discourse framing elites supplies individuals with identities and personalities.
Social movements tend to act with great conviction and great ambitions to alter the course of humanity all for the best for humanity. But the ambition to change often conflict with the interests of powerful actors. These actors will do all they can to keep or strengthen their dominance or influence and the ways they will act is not limited to any ethical guidelines.
All periods and places have their specific conditions. The tools to use might partly be new. But the struggle for influence and dominance is not new.