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Deterrence pp 141-155 | Cite as

‘The Outrage Was Really Quite Visceral’1: Overt and Covert Deterrence Effects on Social Movement Activism

  • Thomas O’BrienEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)

Abstract

Environmental resources and how these should be managed are an area where tensions between state and social movements have long festered. Direct action by social movement actors is particularly challenging in this context, as it requires the state to physically engage with activists. When coupled with the proliferation of media technologies the reputational costs can be high, with activists demonstrating the heavy-handed nature of the state’s responses. Attempting to reduce the potential backlash, states may turn to preventative deterrence, dissuading social movement participants by raising the potential costs to those involved. Overt methods, including banning orders, legal restrictions, or regulation can be effective, but risk reinforcing portrayals of the state as preventing the free expression of deeply felt concerns. Covert or hidden methods can enable the state to gain information and develop more sophisticated deterrent tools and subvert from within, but risk significant reputational damage if exposed. This chapter considers the case of New Zealand to examine how overt and covert forms of deterrence have been used to deter environmental activism and how these have impacted the environmental movement.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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