Earlier this year Routledge, who seem to dominate academic output when it comes to the political fringe, published the Routledge Handbook of Non-Violent Extremism.
Edited by Elisa Orofino and William Allchorn, it is a pretty hefty piece of work, with 32 separate articles.
One of them is from me, 'The phoney war,' which charts radical environmental and animal rights activism across five decades. I argue direct action leads to a conversation between protestors and the authorities, and in the case of the animal rights movement, militant activism faded as many of the protestors core demands (such as the abolition of hunting) were won. The present era is significantly different, in that activists propagate arguments of imminent environmental collapse, a position that is to at least some degree accepted, and even echoed, by ruling elites.
What happens though, to this movement, as we get potentially closer to the environmental point of no return (2030?) that they insist is approaching? When does the conversation stop?
Two short comments on the handbook itself. It is a substantial piece of work, covering differing types of extremism, from religious actors to the far-right, far-left and environmentalists. Unfortunately the nature of academic publishing means that for all the sterling work put into the project, few will seriously study it. The cheapest price - £178.18 - guarantees that. Although you can read it via a Kindle for £38. Academic publishing appears content to phase out actual books, and to sell at a high price to universities and similar institutions, leaving out the man and woman in the street. In the long-term that strategy is unsustainable - it is taxation which of course funds the universities. The relevance of academic research, especially in the social sciences, needs to be debated far more than it is. Secondly, I salute the enormous amount of work the editors have put in to tie this project together. It is much appreciated by this author.