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Friends of the Earth International: negotiating a transnational identity


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The aim of this article is to assess the relationships between majority (South) and minority (North) world environmental groups by focusing on one of the largest transnational environmental organisations: Friends of the Earth International (FoEI):1
1. For this article I am drawing on data gathered at the FoEI biennial meeting in Croatia in September 2004 and documents provided by FoE Australia on their work in FoEI.
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a federation of autonomous groups from 71 countries (see Appendix). FoEI's federal structure gives more power to southern groups than other transnational environmental organisations and FoEI has taken a relatively radical line on issues of global justice. Nevertheless, there have been arguments over strategy and ideology between northern and southern groups. The article examines how FoEI responded to a crisis in its identity over North–South differences in 2002–4. The trust developed through regular international meetings and a distinctive organisational culture allowed the network to rebuild its solidarity, although without ever fully resolving differences of ideology. It is argued that FoEI will be best able to maintain its North–South representation if it accepts that internal conflicts and debates over core ideological questions are normal for social movements.

Publication Date Jan 24, 2007
Journal Environmental Politics
Print ISSN 0964-4016
Publisher Routledge
Pages 860 -880
Keywords Friends of the Earth International,
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