Chapter

What to Mobilize Against

Robert Wuthnow

in Be Very Afraid

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730872
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730872.003.0003
What to Mobilize Against

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This chapter shows that the highly institutionalized response to nuclear peril minimized what ordinary people could reasonably expect to do but also shaped the grassroots response that did occur. Although public involvement waxed and waned, there was a noticeable increase over the years in the technical sophistication of advocacy groups. By the 1980s, even though the very survival of humanity remained at issue, most discussions dealt with arms treaties, the merits of particular weapons, a freeze that would keep the nuclear arsenal from growing (but not eliminate it), and questions about the safety of proposed and existing nuclear reactors. With so much of the nuclear debate decided by policy makers and advocacy groups, the residual sphere of moral responsibility assigned to the average person was quite small, and for the most part scripted by officials and other leaders. Focusing on the routine problems of daily life shielded the public from having to accept the more ambitious challenges they may have been expected to undertake, and avoided the disruption that may have occurred.

Keywords: peril; nuclear threat; danger; protection; anti-nuclear movement

Chapter.  10621 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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