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Title: Student environmentalism in Beijing, China
Author: Mangoldt, Charlotte von
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 6440
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation explores student environmentalism in Beijing, China. It traces students' political norms and values, explains their activism and experience of pollution, and investigates the role of environmental non-governmental organisation (ENGOs) in forming youth environmentalism. To serve these objectives, the work takes forward theories on youth activism and agency and recent debates on environmental health, environmentalism and ENGOs. This study was designed as a qualitative research project based primarily on interviews and complemented by ethnographic methods, content analysis, pictorial evidence and survey results provided by the Jane Goodall Institute China. Research findings and methodology are presented in four papers and a framing document. My work challenges labels of agency and activism as either protest and resistance or 'quiescence' and questions the influence of globalisation on activists' norms and values. I put forward 'fragmented activism' as a new concept to capture the nature of youth environmental activism in Beijing. I contribute to environmental health literature by tracing how young people develop discursive mechanisms to mitigate the fear of air pollution and argue that their response offers invaluable insights into the interplay between space and the body in polluted environments. This thesis further shows that the repertoire of student environmental associations in Beijing represents a type of 'place based environmentalism' (Smith, 2001) but argues that, whilst this may be a contradictory response to contemporary environmental issues, it is not usefully assessed against abstract and normative notions of what environmentalism should be. I also challenge scholarly assessments of ENGO action. By exploring ENGO strategies in China that rely on extant societal and governmental narratives about good citizenship and moral values - instead of radical alternatives to mainstream development models or political processes - I argue for new research paradigms guiding the study of environmental movements.
Supervisor: Lora-Wainwright, Anna ; Jeffrey, Craig Sponsor: Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Environmentalism--China ; Environmental policy--China--Citizen participation ; Student movements--China ; Students--Political activity--China ; China--Environmental conditions