Is Legal Mobilization for the Birds? Legal Opportunity Structures and Environmental Nongovernmental Organisations in the United Kingdom, France, Finland and Italy

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 250 (University of Glasgow)
Lisa Vanhala , University College London, Department of Political Science
What explains the likelihood that an NGO will turn to the courts to pursue their policy goals? This article explores the factors that influence the mobilization of law by environmental NGOs in four Western European countries. It finds that explanations focused on legal opportunity structures are unable to account for the patterns of within-country variation in legal mobilization behaviour. The research also shows that bird protection NGOs as well as home-grown national environmental NGOs are generally more likely to turn to law than transnational environmental groups. While resources and legal opportunities clearly matter to some extent, the author argues - drawing on sociological-institutionalist theory - that explanations of NGO legal mobilization should incorporate an understanding of how groups frame and interpret the idea of “the law”. Organizational framing processes can, under certain circumstances, shape the types of tactics an organization relies on.
  • Legal Mobilization by European ENGOs FINAL.docx (75.3 kB)