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The rise of environmental social movement organization’s mobilization against the proposed hydraulic fracturing in the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal.

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This research aims to understand social movement organizations, specifically the environmental social movement organizations and their mobilization against the proposed hydraulic fracturing in the Midlands. The proposed fracking has spurred mobilization activities among environmental social movement organizations in the Midlands. This research employs qualitative research methods. To answer the research questions and to achieve the objectives of this study, face-to-face interviews were conducted with participants from fifteen environmental social movement organizations who participated in the anti-fracking mobilization. This research draws attention to the roles of environmental social movement organizations and highlights other key findings to understanding social movement organizations, such as, the sources and challenges in getting funds for social movement mobilizations and other activities. It also captures the use of local languages as a strategy by social movement organizations. This study underscores the importance of using legal means as a strategy for social movements and the collaboration and networking among social movement organizations in advancing their goals. This study highlights how social movements recruit members for mobilizations. It captures the different positions and views held by some organizations on the issue of fracking. This study also highlights some theoretical and conceptual approaches in analyzing and understanding social movement organizations. Theoretically, this study links the concepts of environmental justice, social justice and Karl Marx’s view on justice (economic justice) in his critique of capitalism, in order to understand why (factors and concerns) environmental organizations emerge and mobilize. In linking these three concepts, this study shows that environmental social movement organizations can employ the insights and richness of these concepts in their struggles towards achieving environmental justice in the society. This study highlights the economic, environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. The findings in this research add to the broader knowledge of understanding social movement organizations in the society.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.