We revisit long-term politically active citizens at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in the wake of ongoing environmental and nuclear crises in Japan to better understand how long-term citizen participation focused on environmental disasters might be fostered and sustained. In our qualitative study of 31 long-term antinuclear activists, we examine the confluence of psychological and sociopolitical dimensions of active citizenship for over 3 decades. Psychological dimensions include moral obligations and civic-mindedness, emotions, such as anger, stress, and deepened convictions, and the importance of social solidarity and silent supporters. Sociopolitical dimensions include the lack of social power, the importance of formal groups, and strong leadership. Additionally, we compare first-time active citizens with those with prior political experience and argue that at least 2 types of active citizens may exist: those who are intrinsically inspired and those who are motivated by a direct threat. Implications for promoting increased active citizenship around environmental and technological crises are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology