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Civil disobedience in transnational perspective: American and West German anti-nuclear-power protesters, 1975-1982

Ziviler Ungehorsam in transnationaler Perspektive: Amerikanische und Westdeutsche AKW-Gegner 1975-1982
[journal article]

Hughes, Michael L.

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Abstract "Transnational transfers are in practice transnational adaptations. Ideas and practices from one culture can only be implemented in another in the context of the target culture's values, institutions, and history. So there is no reason to expect that Germans would or should have simply adopted the American nonviolent civil disobedience model - to the contrary. And when Germans did look to that model, they proved more open to violence against things and even against people than their American counterparts. And rather than accepting punishment for deliberately breaking the law as honorable result of a commitment to democratic governance, Germans rejected it as 'criminalization' of dissent. Civil disobedience in the US developed amid a powerful religious basis and broad acceptance of the American system's legitimacy. It developed in Germany amid a constitutional right to 'resistance' and widespread doubts about the existing system's legitimacy. Hence, many West German anti-nuclear protesters could find militant, perhaps violent, activism fully justified and could deny to the state they mistrusted any right to treat protesters as criminals, apparently no matter what laws they broke." (author's abstract)
Keywords civil disobedience; protest movement; antinuclear movement; nuclear energy; nuclear power plant; United States of America; Federal Republic of Germany; non-violence; criminalization; resistance; right to resist; transnationalization
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Social History, Historical Social Research
Method descriptive study; historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 236-253
Journal Historical Social Research, 39 (2014) 1
Issue topic Global protest against nuclear power
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works