Shifting Coalitions within the Youth Climate Movement in the US

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Shifting Coalitions within the Youth Climate Movement in the US


  • Dana R. Fisher Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
  • Sohana Nasrin Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, USA


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Abstract:  How has the youth climate movement in the US grown since the Climate Strikes began and in what ways did it change as it grew? This article takes advantage of a unique dataset that includes surveys from activists who organized the nationally coordinated climate strikes in the US that began with Fridays for Future in spring 2019. Building on the research on alliance building and strategic coalitions, this article analyzes how the patterns of participation changed over the period of the study. We employ social network analysis to map the affiliation networks among the organizers of these events to assess the coalitions of groups involved and the shifting organizational landscape. Our analysis does not provide evidence that groups spanned the boundaries across movements, nor does it show that identity plays a role in coalition building in this movement. Instead, by mapping out the coalition of organizations within this movement and how connections among them change over time, we see clear evidence that this youth-led movement was reoriented by adult-led organizations. Our article concludes by considering how these findings suggest the future trajectory of the youth climate movement and its role in a ‘new climate politics’ in America.

Keywords:  activism; climate change; climate movement; climate strike; coalitions; social network analysis

Published:   28 April 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v9i2.3801


© Dana R. Fisher, Sohana Nasrin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.