The spatial properties of radical environmental organizations in the UK: Do or Die!

Zack W. Almquist, Benjamin E. Bagozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Radical environmental groups and their members have a wide and varied agenda which often encompasses both local and global issues. In their efforts to call attention to environmental problems, communicate with like-minded groups, and mobilize support for their activities, radical environmental organizations also produce an enormous amount of text, which can be used to estimate the complex communications and task-based networks that underlie these organizations. Moreover, the tactics employed to garnish attention for these groups' agenda can range from peaceful activities such as information dissemination to violent activities such as fire-bombing buildings. To obtain these varied objectives, radical environmental organizations must harness their networks, which have an important spatial component that structures their ability to communicate, coordinate and act on any given agenda item. Here, we analyze a network built from communications and information provided by the semi-annual "Do or Die" (DoD) magazine published in the UK over a 10 year period in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We first employ structural topic model methods to discover violent and nonviolent actors within the larger environmental community. Using this designation, we then compare the spatial structure of these groups, finding that violent groups are especially likely to engage in coordination and/or communication if they are sufficiently close, but exhibit a quickly decreasing probability of interaction over even a few kilometers. Further, violent and nonviolent groups each have a higher probability of coordination with their own group than across groups over even short distances. In these respects, we see that violent groups are especially local in their organization and that their geographic reach is likely very limited. This suggests that nonviolent environmental groups seek each other out over both large and short distances for communication and coordination, but violent groups tend to be highly localized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0166609
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016

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