"Today the Fish, Tomorrow Us": Anti-Nuclear Activism in the Rhine Valley and Beyond, 1970-1979


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My dissertation analyzes the growth and development of the anti-nuclear movement in western Europe during the 1970s. The primary focus of my research is a series of anti-reactor protests that spanned the Rhine River, connecting rural villages in German Baden, the French Alsace, and Northwest Switzerland. I seek to explain how this series of grassroots anti-reactor protests influenced public opinion about nuclear energy far from the Rhine valley and spawned national anti-nuclear movements. My hypothesis is that democracy matters played a key role in grassroots protesters’ coalescence around the issue of nuclear energy and in the growth of their movement beyond the local level. As my research has shown, politicians frequently dismissed their constituents’ concerns about the proposed “nuclearization” of the Rhine. Because their elected representatives were so unresponsive, rural people created a trans-national “imagined community” as an alternative to the state, and national governments that they considered dysfunctional. These protesters’ fierce criticism of the authorities and their will to search for more inclusive decision-making practices excited a wide spectrum of outside activist groups and individual citizens, many of whom had no previous interest in nuclear energy or environmental affairs. Thus, the association of nuclear energy with democracy matters achieved by local protesters in the Rhine valley was a key step towards the rise of mass anti-nuclear movements throughout western Europe during the final years of the 1970s.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Univ N Carolina, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Jarausch, Konrad, Supervisor, Externe Persoon
Datum van toekenning10-dec-2012
Plaats van publicatie[S.l.]
StatusPublished - 2012
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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