Rich kids of Europe? Social basis and strategic choices in the climate activism of Fridays for Future

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Cambridge University Press
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In 2018, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg began a school strike that quickly spread across the globe. After a ritual strike every Friday by school pupils to call for urgent action against climate change had gone on for several months, what had become Fridays for Future (FFF) called for various global days of action throughout 2019, bringing millions of people out onto the streets in the largest climate protests in world history. Drawing on unique protest survey data on FFF events across European cities in 2019, this article explores the structural bases of organized collective mobilization for climate justice. Nuancing narratives that focus on either the privileged background of climate justice protesters or the environmentalism of the poor, our results show the heterogeneity of the social composition of the protests, suggesting the need for cross-class alliances for mass mobilizations. Moreover, our analysis reveals that the social background of protesters shaped their attitudes regarding what institutions and approaches can be relied upon to tackle climate and environmental challenges. This suggests an important and under-studied connection between social background and the strategic choices of environmental movements.
Climate change, Fridays for future, Protest, Social class, Social movements
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della Porta, D., & Portos, M. (2021). Rich kids of Europe? Social basis and strategic choices in the climate activism of Fridays for Future. Italian Political Science Review/Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica