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Journal Articles French Politics Year : 2022

Are movements against climate-change policy anti-environmental? Research on the Yellow Vest Movement

Magali Della Sudda

Abstract

The French Yellow Vest (YV) movement was born out of the opposition to an increase in carbon taxation. It has therefore been conventionally depicted as an anti-environmental protest. This article challenges this view, based on a review of scholarship on YVs and on the environmental values, actions and mobilizations of underprivileged citizens. We start with an overview of the studies available on the YVs’ characteristics and their relationship to ecology and draw on different large-N data to show that YVs are on average similar to the French general population, with low levels of environmental concerns, a distance from “institutional environmentalism”. The coexistence of an ecological block and an anti-ecological block within the movement is not peculiar to YVs. We recall how carbon taxes generate right-wing contestation resisting taxation in general, but also opposition from left-wing activists concerned with social justice and/or the climate crisis. Local interactions with environmentalist mobilizations result in spatial variations and changes over time in YVs’ environmental attitudes. Finally, we emphasize the varieties of environmentalism among dominated social groups. The conclusion derives lessons on the drivers of contestation of climate policy and draws avenues for further research.
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Dates and versions

hal-03783329 , version 1 (01-12-2022)

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Alix Levain, Simon Persico, Chloé Alexandre, Christèle Dondeyne, Charif Elalaoui, et al.. Are movements against climate-change policy anti-environmental? Research on the Yellow Vest Movement. French Politics, 2022, Special issue: Understanding the Yellow Vests through the Lens of Mixed Methods, 20 (3-4), pp.550-572. ⟨10.1057/s41253-022-00186-w⟩. ⟨hal-03783329⟩
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