ECPR Summer School on Methods for the Study of Participation and Mobilization edition:1 location:Florence date:16-17 September 2013
Lifestyle politics has often been defined as a political strategy used to avoid institutional politics. However, recent studies have indicated that to varying degrees, lifestyle activists may engage in state-oriented action as well. The current study investigates why some lifestyle activists combine both forms of engagement, while others do not. It is questioned whether such differences can be explained by variations in activists’ perceptions of the political opportunity structure. In particular, it will be examined whether input or output structures offer relevant predictors to this extent. The paper presents an in-depth case-study of a Belgian environmental lifestyle movement organization, based on a triangulation of methods – participant observations, qualitative interviewing, and surveys. Contrary to the literature’s focus on input structures, findings suggest that lifestyle activists’ propensity for state-oriented action is mainly affected by their beliefs in the state’s ability to address environmental concerns, i.e., its output structure.