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Forestry workers-- an endangered species : countermovement mobilization on the west coast of Vancouver Island Mauboulès, Céline

Abstract

Vancouver Island's old growth temperate rainforest has been the focal point in the conflict between environmentalists and forestry workers. While a substantial body of sociological literature exists on participants in the environmental movement (EM), there is a dearth of literature on participants in anti-environmentalist countermovements. Share Our Resources of Port Alberni (Share) is a countermovement organization that emerged to act as a voice for forestry workers and resource dependent communities and to counter the 'misinformation' being spread by environmentalists. The conflict over forestry and conservation is fuelled as environmentalists become the "other" against which Share members mobilize and construct their collective identity - an collective identity characterized by a core of pro-industry, pro-community and anti-environmental sentiments. This thesis addresses two research questions: First, what are the underlying differences between members of the two movements with respect to their socio-demographics, values, networks, and collective identities? Second, if certain factors are important in explaining identification with the EM, then what factors are important in explaining identification with Share. Using bivariate correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis, three sources of data are analyzed: self-administered questionnaires sent to both Share (N=129) and EM members (N=381); and a telephone survey of the general public of Port Alberni (N=100). My results show that Share respondents are predominantly older, working class men employed in the forest industry without a great deal of formal education. Share members more highly value anthropocentrism and are more politically conservative. Identification with the forest industry is the strongest and most significant predictor of identification with Share. The most theoretically interesting and surprising finding is that out-group ties or ties to environmentalists, is a positive and statistically significant predictor of identification with Share.

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