Social movement organizations’ agency for sustainable organizing

Helen Etchanchu, Frank de Bakker, Giuseppe Delmestri

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingChapter in edited volume


This chapter argues that social movement organizations (SMOs) are relevant actors in the sustainability transition. It presents strategies, success factors and challenges of sustainability SMOs, emphasizing their agency in mobilizing collective action to achieve sustainability goals. We discuss different strategies (aimed at collaboration, confrontation, or prefiguration), organizational forms (characterized by different degrees of organizing) and outcomes (at organizational, community and societal levels) of SMOs. We then illustrate our take of the literature on sustainability SMOs using the recent example of Extinction Rebellion that one of us investigated through participant observation. We conclude with a few avenues for future research, including digital and transnational movements, their potential to transform dominant neoliberal narratives, and the role of academic agency for sustainable organizing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook of Sustainability Agency
Editors Teerikangas, S., Onkila, T., Koistinen, K., & Mäkelä, M.
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherEdward Elgar
Pages1 - 20
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502044 Business management
  • 502026 Human resource management
  • 504

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