Skip to main content Accessibility help

Political Opportunity Structures and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies

  • Herbert P. Kitschelt


Since the 1960s, successive protest movements have challenged public policies, established modes of political participation and socio-economic institutions in advanced industrial democracies. Social scientists have responded by conducting case studies of such movements. Comparative analyses, particularly cross-national comparisons of social movements, however, remain rare, although opportunities abound to observe movements with similar objectives or forms of mobilization in diverse settings.



Hide All

1 The non-theoretical literature includes several useful handbooks, written by anti-nuclear activists, about the development of nuclear power conflicts in a number of countries, as well as several descriptively rich comparative analyses written by academic observers. Representative handbooks include: Projektbereich Ökologie der Vereinigten deutschen Studentenschaft, Bochum, Atomenergie International: Atomprogramme und Wilderstand in 28 Ländern (Bochum: Druckladen, 1978); Gyorgy, Anna and friends, No Nukes: Everyone's Guide to Nuclear Power (Boston: South End Press, 1979); and Mez, Lutz, ed., Der Atomkonflikt (West Berlin: Olle und Wolters, 1979). Representative academic analyses include: John Surrey and Huggett, Charlotte, ‘Opposition to Nuclear Power: A Review of International Experience’, Energy Policy, IV (1976), 286307; Nelkin, Dorothy and Pollak, Michael, ‘The Politics of Participation and the Nuclear Debate in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria’, Public Policy, XXV (1977), 333–57; also ‘The Political Parties and the Nuclear Energy Debate in France and Germany’, Comparative Politics, XII (1980), 127–41; and also The Atom Besieged: Extraparliamentary Dissent in France and Germany (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981); and Falk, Jim, Global Fission: The Battle Over Nuclear Power (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982).

2 Societal impacts of social movements are a concern of the following recent literature: Gamson, William, The Strategy of Social Protest (Homewood, IL: Dorsey, 1975); Marx, Gary and Wood, James, ‘Strands of Theory and Research in Collective Behavior’, Annual Review of Sociology, I (1975). 363428; Piven, Frances Fox and Cloward, Richard, Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (New York: Pantheon, 1979); Gurr, Ted Robert, ‘On the Outcomes of Violent Conflict’, in Gurr, Ted Robert, ed., Handbook of Political Conflict (New York: Free Press, 1980), pp. 238–94; McAdam, Doug, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930 1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); and Tarrow, Sidney, Social Movements: Resource Mobilization and Reform During Cycles of Protest: A Bibliographic and Critical Essay, Western Societies Program, Occasional Paper No. 15, Center for International Studies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1982).

3 Key contributions to this perspective include: Touraine, Alain, The Self-Production of Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), Chap. 6; Touraine, Alain, The Voice and the Eye (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Touraine, Alain, Hegedus, Zsuza, Dubet, François and Wieviorka, Michel, La Prophétie Anti-Nucléaire (Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1980); Melucci, Alberto, ‘The New Social Movements: A Theoretical Approach’, Social Science Information, XIX (1980), 199226; Habermas, Jürgen, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns, Volumes 1 and 2 (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1981); Eder, Klaus, ‘A New Social Movement?’, Telos, 52 (1982), 520; and Offe, Claus, ‘New Social Movements as a Meta-Political Challenge’ (unpublished paper, Universität Bielefeld, 06 1983). A critical review of the literature is found in Cohen, Jean, ‘Between Crisis Management and Social Movements: The Place of Institutional Reform’, Telos, LII (1982), 2140.

4 This perspective is labelled as ‘Durkheimian’ in Tilly, Charles, From Mobilization to Revolution (Reading. MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978). It has been adopted and refined by authors as diverse as the structural-functionalist Neil Smelser, in Theory of Collective Behavior (New York: Free Press, 1962) and the behavioralist Gurr, Ted Robert in Why Men Rebel (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970). Critical assessments of the relative deprivation perspective are found in Useem, Michael, Protest Movements in America (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1975) and Jenkins, J. Craig, ‘Sociopolitical Movements’, in Long, Samuel R., ed., The Handbook of Political Behavior, Vol. 4 (New York: Plenum Press, 1981).

5 Early critics of the social strain and relative deprivation theories rejected their validity out of hand, but some contemporary critics accept the intensification of grievances as one of several determinants of social movement mobilization. For example, see Walsh, E. J., ‘Resource Mobilization and Citizen Protest in Communities Around Three Mile Island’, Social Problems, XXIX (1981). 121; Kerbo, Harold R., ‘Movements of “Crisis” and Movements of “Affluence”: A Critique of Deprivation and Resource Mobilization Theories’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, XXVI (1982), 645–63; and Webb, Keith et al. , ‘Etiology and Outcomes of Protest: New European Perspectives’, American Behavioral Scientist, XXVI (1983), 311–31.

6 Key contributions to the resource mobilization perspective are Obserschall, Anthony, Social Conflict and Social Movements (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1973); Gamson, William, The Strategy of Social Protest (Homewood, IL: Dorsey, 1975); and McCarthy, John D. and Zald, Mayer, ‘Resource Mobilization and Social Movements: A Partial Theory’, American Journal of Sociology, LXXXII (1977), 1212–41.

7 McCarthy, and Zald, , ‘Resource Mobilization and Social Movements’, p. 1236, for instance simply state that they have assumed the ‘modern American context’ for their theory. But the institutional context is, as Piven, and Cloward, , pp. 1537, point out, an important determinant of movement mobilization that may vary. A greater emphasis on external political opportunity structures is found in some of the recent social movement research. See McAdam, , Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, Tarrow, , Social Movements; and Tilly, , From Mobilization to Revolution, Chap. 4.

8 If the paper focused on the explanation of early nuclear power conflicts, a more disaggregate level of analysis would have been in order: site-specific variables, such as the absence or presence of other industrial polluters, including nuclear ones, at a prospective plant site; patterns of rural settlement; fiscal side-payments to communities willing to host nuclear facilities; and the secretiveness of decision-making among local political and economic elites have been found to be reliable predictors of protest in numerous case studies. For France, see Anger, Didier, Cronique d'une lutte: le combat anti-nucléaire à Flamanville et dans La Hague (without location: Jean-Claude Simoën, 1977); Garraud, Phillipe, ‘Politique électro-nucléaire et mobilisation: la tentative de constitution d'enjeu’, Revue française de science politique, XXIX (1979), 448–74; Jund, Thierry, Le Nucléaire contre l'Alsace (Paris: Syros, 1977); Lucas, N. J. D., Energy in France: Planning, Politics and Policy (London: Europa Publications, 1979), pp. 188212; and Nicolon, Alexandre, ‘Analyse d'une opposition à un site nucléaire’, pp. 79159 in Fagnani, Francis and Nicolon, Alexandre, Nucléopolis: materiaux pour l'analyse d'une société nucléaire (Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 1979). For Sweden, see Daleus, Lennart, ‘A Moratorium in Name Only’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, XXXI (1975), 2733. For tne United States see Caldwell, Lynton, Hayes, Lynton, and MacWhirter, Isabel, Citizens and the Environment: Case Studies in Popular Action (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1976), Chaps. 3, 6, 7 and 8; Sesto, Steven del, Science, Politics and Controversy: Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1947–1974 (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1979), Chap. 6; Ebbin, Stephen and Kasper, Raphael, Citizen Groups and the Nuclear Power Controversy: Uses of Scientific and Technical Information (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974); Gyorgy, et al. , No Nukes; Kasperson, Robert E. et al. , ‘Public Opposition to Nuclear Energy: Retrospect and Prospect’, Science, Technology and Human Values, V (1980), 1123; and Nelkin, Dorothy, Nuclear Power and Its Critics: The Cayuga Lake Controversy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1971). For West Germany, see Battelle Institut, Bürgerinitiativen im Bereich von Kernkraftwerken (Bonn: Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technologie, 1975); Kitschelt, Herbert, Kernenergiepolitik: Arena eines gesellschaftlichen Konflikts (Frankfurt: Campus, 1980), Chaps. 5.2 and 5.4; Rucht, Dieter, Von Whyl nach Gorleben: Bürger gegen Atomprogramm und nukleare Entsorgung (Munich: Beck, 1980); and Schritt, Joachim, Bauern gegen Atomanlagen (Offenbach: Verlag 2000, 1977).

9 Reliable quantitative data about the social background of anti-nuclear activists are hard to come by. But the case studies referred to in fn. 4 consistently identify these three groups of activists.

10 The alliances of pro-nuclear interests were very similar in all four countries during the early stages of the nuclear power debate. However, the reasons why these clusters of industrial and administrative interests are the logical outcome of nuclear technology development in the countries compared here are discussed in Kitschelt, Herbert, ‘Structures and Sequences of Nuclear Energy Policy-Making: Suggestions for a Comparative Perspective’, Political Power and Social Theory, III (1982), 271308.

11 The concept of political opportunity structure is used here in a broader sense than that conveyed by ‘state structure’, a concept that has been used, and criticized, in recent discussions in the field of comparative public policy. See Zysman, John, Governments, Markets and Growth (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), pp. 291300 and 347–9. Opportunity structure encompasses the concept of ‘dominant policy style’. The latter is developed for a number of countries in Richardson, Jeremy, ed., Policy Styles in Western Europe (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982). A recent analysis in this vein of labour movements is found in Lange, Peter, Ross, George and Vannizelli, Maurizio, Unions, Change and Crisis: French and Italian Union Strategy and the Political Economy, 1945–1980 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982).

12 The concepts of movement cycles and reform cycles are developed in Tarrow, , Social Movements, pp. 3546.

13 Structures are those processes in a system that change at a rate so slow as to be fixed for the study of events that transpire over a short period of time. See Deutsch, Karl, ‘The Crisis of the State’, Government and Opposition, XVI (1981), 331–41, at p. 332.

14 The distinction drawn between open and closed opportunity structures is used in Eisinger, Peter K., ‘The Conditions of Protest Behavior in American Cities’, American Political Science Review, LXVII (1973), 1128.

15 This term is used in May, Judith and Wildavsky, Aaron, eds, The Policy Cycle (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1978) to describe public policy processes in terms of steps and stages.

16 This point is frequently stressed in implementation research. See Bardach, Eugene, The Implementation Game (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1977).

17 This variable permits only a restricted, though important, scope of generalization across policy areas. While it is important as a determinant of most economic and social policies, there are obviously other policy areas where it does not come into play as a determinant of policy formation.

18 The divergent features of political regimes found among advanced industrial democracies can be traced back to the circumstances surrounding their state-building, their location in the world economy, the timing and speed of their industrialization, and the formation of class and group coalitions promoting specific regime forms. For the purposes of this article, however, the varying outcomes of political development in the four countries are taken as givens.

19 Useful analyses of the French political system are found in Cerny, Philip G. and Schain, Martin A., eds, French Politics and Public Policy (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980); Andrews, William and Hoffman, Stanley, eds, The Fifth Republic at Twenty (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1981); Cohen, Stephen and Gourevitch, Peter, eds., France in a Troubled World Economy (London: Butterworth Scientific, 1982); and Ashford, Douglas, Policy and Politics in France (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1982).

20 Compare, for the assimilation of Swedish movements in the late 1960s, Ruin, Olof, ‘Participatory Democracy and Corporatism: The Case of Sweden’, Scandanavian Political Studies, IX (1974), 171–84. Early socio-economic reforms and a better representation of women in politics have even pre-empted a strong women's movement in Sweden. Compare: Edwards, Maud, ‘Sweden’, in Lovenduski, Joni and Hills, Jill, eds. The Politics of the Second Electorate: Women and Public Participation (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), pp. 208–27; Scott, Hilda, Sweden's ‘Right to Be Human’: Sex Role Equality: The Goal and the Reality (Avondale, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1982).

21 For Sweden, see Elder, Neil, Government in Sweden: The Executive at Work (Oxford: Pergamon, 1970); Hancock, M. Donald, Sweden: The Politics of Postindustrial Change (Hinsdale, IL: The Dryden Press, 1972); and Anton, Thomas J., Administered Politics: Elite Political Culture in Sweden (Boston: Nijhoff, 1980). Several works note a marked decline in Sweden's capacity to build consensus and implement public policy. As similar trends also have been observed in other countries, the distance between the predominant Swedish ‘policy style’ and other regimes, nevertheless, may not have disappeared. See Gustafsson, Gunnel and Richardson, Jeremy, ‘Concepts of Rationality and the Policy Process’, European Journal of Political Research, VII (1979), 415–36; Ruin, Olof, ‘Sweden in the 1970s: Policy-making Becomes More Difficult’, in Richardson, ed., Policy Styles in Western Europe, pp. 141–67; and Elder, Neil, Thomas, Alastair H. and Arter, David, The Consensual Democracies? (Oxford: Martin Robertson, 1982).

22 For the American political system, see Burnham, Walter Dean, Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics (New York: Norton, 1971); Seidman, Harold, Politics, Position and Power: The Dynamics of Federal Organization, 2nd edn (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975); King, Anthony, ed., The New American Political System (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1978); and Sundquist, James, The Decline and Resurgence of Congress (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1981).

23 Useful analyses of policy-making in West Germany are found in Mayntz, Renate and Scharpf, Fritz, Policy-Making in the German Federal Bureaucracy (New York: Elsevier, 1975); Conradt, David, The German Polity, 2nd edn (New York: Longman, 1982); Dyson, Kenneth, ‘West Germany: The Search for a Rationalist Consensus’, in Richardson, , ed., Policy Styles in Western Europe, pp. 1646.

24 Gamson, , The Strategy of Protest, Chap. 3, introduced the important distinction between procedural and substantive impacts or ‘gains’ of movements, but omitted structural impacts on the political regimes themselves.

25 In addition to those listed in fn. 2, detailed analyses of the nuclear power conflict in the United States are found in: Nelkin, Dorothy and Fallows, Susan, ‘The Evolution of the Nuclear Debate: The Role of Public Participation’, Annual Review of Energy, III (1978), 275312; and Price, Jerome, The Anti-nuclear Movement (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982).

26 For the Swedish nuclear controversy, see Daleus, , ‘A Moratorium in Name Only’; Nelkin, and Pollak, , ‘The Politics of Participation’; Abrahamson, Dean, ‘Governments Fall as Consensus Gives Way to Debate’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, XXXV (1979), 30–7; Westmann, Ann-Marie, ‘Schweden, Wohfahrtsstaat am Scheideweg’, in Mez, , Der Atomkonflikt, pp. 229–40; and Zetterberg, Hans, The Swedish Public and Nuclear Energy: The Referendum of 1980 (Tokyo: United Nations University, 1980).

27 The role of political parties in West German and French nuclear power controversies is analysed in Nicolon, Alexandre and Carrieu, Marie-Josephe, ‘Les parties face au nucléaire et la contestation’, in Fagnani, and Nicolson, , Nucléopolis, pp. 79159; Nelkin, and Pollak, , ‘The Political Parties and the Nuclear Energy Debate in France and Germany’; and Kitschelt, , Kernenergiepolitik, Chap. 5.5.

28 For the United States, see Ebbin, and Kasper, , Citizen Groups and the Nuclear Power Controversy; and Rolph, Elizabeth S., Nuclear Power and the Public Safety: A Study in Regulation (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1979). For West Germany, see Kitschelt, , Kernenergiepolitik, Chap. 4. Licensing procedures in the United States, West Germany, France and Sweden are compared in Hoffmann, Lutz et al. , Faktoren der Standortwahl für Kernkraftwerke in ausgewählten Industriestaaten (Bonn: Bundesministerium für Raumordnung, 1978).

29 The role of litigation in West German and American anti-nuclear activities is discussed in Cook, Constance Ewing, Nuclear Power and Legal Advocacy: The Environmentalists and the Courts (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1980); Kitschelt, , Kernenergiepolitik, Chap. 5.4; Nelkin, and Pollack, , The Atom Besieged, Chap. 11.

30 The effectiveness of litigation and the importance of the courts in the anti-nuclear movement's strategy has sometimes been overestimated, e.g., by Nelkin, and Pollack, , The Atom Besieged. There is not a single instance in either country where appeals courts have permanently revoked nuclear construction or operation licences. A discussion of the limits of the litigation strategy and the disillusionment it brings appears in Kitschelt, Herbert, ‘Justizapparate als Konfliktlösungsinstanz?Demokratie und Recht, VII (01 1979), 322; and in McSpadden-Wenner, Lettie, ‘Energy Environmental Trade-Offs in the Courts: Nuclear and Fossil Fuels’, Axelrod, Regina, ed., Environment, Energy, Public Policy (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1981), pp. 81109.

31 The French licensing procedure is discussed in Colson, Jean-Marie, Le Nucléaire sans les Français: Qui decide? Qui profite? (Paris: Maspero, 1977), pp. 101ff.

32 These correlations between political structures and protest activity also appear in earlier movements from which anti-nuclear groups recruited some of their participants. Student movements in the late 1960s, for instance, were more militant and embittered in West Germany and France than in Sweden or in the United States.

33 The Seabrook controversy is discussed in Barkan, Steven, ‘Strategic, Tactical and Organizational Dilemmas of the Protest Movement Against Nuclear Energy’, Social Problems, XXVII (1979), 1937; and in Wasserman, Harvey, Energy War: Reports from the Front (New York: Lawrence Hill, 1979).

34 Survey questions have been manipulated so as to create a virtual ‘politics of nuclear polling’, with advocates and opponents of nuclear power using the surveys most favourable to their own position. This is discussed in Renn, Otwin, Kernenergie aus der Sicht der Bevölkerung (Jülich: Kernforschungsanlage Jülich, 1977), pp. 47–9.

35 The concept of the ‘issue attention cycle’ for social movements is developed in Downs, Anthony, ‘Up and Down with Ecology: The “Issue Attention Cycle”’, Public Interest, XXVIII (1972), 3850.

36 For opinion surveys about nuclear energy issues, see Duménil, Gerard, ‘Energie nucléaire et opinion publique’, pp. 317–74 in Fagnani, and Nicolon, , Nucléopolis (France); Farah, Barbara et al. , Public Opinion About Energy: A Literature Review (Golden, CO: Solar Energy Research Institute, 1979) (United States); Renn, , Kernenergie aus der Sicht der Bevölkerung and Wahrnehmung und Akzeptanz technischer Risiken (Jülich: Kernforschungslage Jülich, 1981) (Germany); and Zetterberg, Hans, The Swedish Public and Nuclear Energy (Sweden).

37 It has also been argued that weakness of a nation's energy sector, above all the absence of strong oil companies, explains why governments protect nuclear and other energy policies more from movement challenges than do countries with strong, indigenous energy industries. For this argument, see Gourevitch, Peter, ‘The Second Image Reversed: The International Sources of Domestic Polities’, International Organization, XXXII (1978), 881911, esp. p. 906. At first blush, this model seems to explain the differences between France and the United States. The weak French energy sector requires firm government support, whereas the United States can afford a more pluralist style because its energy sector is strong and can fight for itself. The model fails to explain, however, why West Germany and Sweden, each with comparatively weak energy industries, were unable to imitate the French strategy and, instead, retreated, each in its own particular way, from an all-out, long-term commitment to nuclear power.

38 The new Socialist government allowed consultative local referendums on nuclear power projects. But this provision was far less sweeping than it sounds, for referendums may be overruled by decisions of regional political bodies, and the reform was accompanied by government and electric utility threats of economic hardship for uncooperative regions. The licensing reform by the Socialist government is described in Rappin, M., ‘Dezentralisierung des französischen Genehmigungverfahrens’, Atomwirischaft-Atomtechnik, XXVII (1982), 3941.

39 For the litigation initiated by French anti-nuclear activists, see Colson, , Le Nucléaire sans les Français, pp. 139–50, and Nelkin, and Pollak, , The Atom Besieged, Chap. 11.

40 The political dynamics of this commission are analysed in Kitschelt, Herbert, ‘Der Zwischenbericht der Enquete-Kommission “Zukunftige Kernenergiepolitik”: Stagnation oder Innovation in der politischen Ökonomie des westdeutschen Energiesektors?Jarhbuch Technik und Gesellschaft, I (1982), 165–91.

41 There are several overviews of American nuclear energy policy that place it in the more comprehensive setting of American energy policy: Bupp, Irwin C. and Derian, Jean-Claude, Light Water: How the Nuclear Dream Dissolved (New York: Basic Books, 1978), Chaps. 8 and 10; Rosenbaum, Walter, Energy, Politics and Public Policy (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 1981); Chubb, John, Interest Groups and the Bureaucracy: The Politics of Energy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1983), Chaps. 4 and 6.

42 Compare Nelkin, and Pollak, , ‘The Politics of Participation’.

43 These financial difficulties are discussed in Cohen, Stephen, ‘Informed Bewilderment: French Economic Strategy and the Crisis’, in Cohen, and Gourevitch, , France in a Troubled World Economy, pp. 2148; and in Kitschelt, Herbert, Politik und Energie: Energie-Technologiepolitiken in den USA, der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Frankreich und Schweden (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1983), pp. 249–51.

44 This process was accompanied by increasing outlays for nuclear safety research that led to further regulatory requirements and delays of nuclear power plants. See Weingast, Barry, ‘Congress, Regulation and the Decline of Nuclear Power’, Public Policy, XXVIII (1980), 231–55.

45 These data would be even more striking if only plants originally scheduled for completion between 1976 and 1980 had been included. By the 1980s, after the controversy's peak, plants were delayed an average of 73·7 months in the United States, 42·2 months in the Federal Republic, 15·9 months in France, and 17·2 months in Sweden. By 1984, some time after the peak of the nuclear controversy, delays for this group of power plants had increased still further: 86 months in the United States, 56 in West Germany, 26 in Sweden, and 16 in France. Data are calculated according to sources and procedures described under Table 6.

46 For a more detailed analysis of energy conservation policies, compare: International Energy Agency, Energy Conservation: The Role of Demand Management in the 1980s (Paris: OECD, 1981), and Kitschelt, , Politik und Energie, Chap. 4.1.

47 See Lucas, , Energy in France, pp. 152–6.

48 An instructive analysis of the budget decisions for solar energy by the US Congress is provided by Lambright, W. Henry and Teich, Albert, ‘Policy Innovation in Federal Research and Development: The Case of Energy Research and Development’, Public Administration Review, IXL (1979), 140–7. A detailed comparative analysis of the formation and implementation of energy technology policies can be found in Kitscheit, , Politik und Energie, Chap. 6.

49 Large German coal deposits do not improve this picture dramatically. Because mining and burning coal have deleterious environmental and economic consequences, Germany has been hesitant to exploit this resource at an accelerated pace.

50 An assessment of the world energy situation after the second oil crisis of 1978–80 is found in Yergin, Daniel and Hillenbrand, Martin, eds, Global Insecurity: A Strategy for Energy and Economic Renewal (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982).

51 For discussions of ecological parties, see Vadrot, Claude-Marie, L'Écologie: histoire d'une subversion (Paris: Syros, 1978); Garraud, , ‘Politique electro-nucléaire et mobilisation’; Roth, Roland, ed., Parlamentarisches Ritual und politische Alternativen (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1980); Mettke, Jörg, ed., Die Grünen: Regierungspartner von morgen (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1982); Müller-Rommel, Ferdinand, ‘“Parteinen neuen Typs” in Westeuropa: eine vergleichende Analyse’, Zeilschrift für Parlamentsfragen, XIII (1982), 369–90; and Mewes, Horst, ‘The West German Green Party’. New German Critique, XXVIII (1983), 5183.

52 The new parties thus destabilize the formation of cleavages that have been institutionalized in West European party systems throughout most of this century. Compare Lipset, Seymour Martin and Rokkan, Stein, eds. Party Systems and Voter Alignments (New York: Free Press, 1967).

53 This argument is elaborated in the theories referred to in fn. 3.

54 Thus, ecological parties in countries with weak nuclear conflicts or with opportunity structures not conducive to the formation of new parties will benefit in the future from a demonstration effect provided by the successful ecological parties, especially the West German party. A more exhaustive comparative analysis of ecological parties in different countries would require a detailed examination of the socioeconomic development, the political culture and the system of party competition in each instance.

* Department of Political Science, Duke University, Durham, N.C. For helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper, I would like to thank Peter Lange, Anthony King, Sidney Tarrow, and two anonymous reviewers for the Journal.

Political Opportunity Structures and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies

  • Herbert P. Kitschelt


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed