Missouri Natural Streams Act (1990)

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This study is an examination of Missouri’s 1990 citizen’s petition effort to regulate rural streams which, though it seemed poised for great success, eventually ended in a dramatic loss in every county of the state. The analysis revolves around the collapse of modern underpinnings of environmentalism, in particular the rural-urban dichotomy, the role of a centralized state within a grassroots framework, the question of science and the notion of a singularly defined public good. It is intended for scholars interested in the environmental movement, resource protection, progressive social activism, and rural sociology.


“In the end, Bradley’s work should not be read as an attempt to explain the behavior of the individuals who condoned ascription to their particular text (Missouri Streams Act). That’s old school sociological writing and severely misses the point of the kind of reflexive approach Bradley champions through her text. This study, instead, should be read as an elegant attempt to explain to environmentalists, and to us, the socially organized powers in which their lives and our lives are embedded and to which we both contribute.” - Dr. J. Sanford Rikoon, Professor of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri - Columbia

“This is an interesting and well-researched study that will make a nice contribution to the existing environmental literature. It will appeal not only to those in the social sciences with an interest in environmental studies, but also to those interested in social movements and the evolution of environmental legislation in Missouri.” - Dr. Alessandro Bonanno, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, Sam Houston State University

“Dr. Karen Bradley provides an engaging, insightful analysis of the trials and tribulations of environmentalists in contemporary politics. She uses well-chosen sociological theories to frame the seemingly deep-seated conflict between urban environmental organizations and their political opponents, who are often rural-based.” - Professor Jess Gilbert, Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sandy Rikoon
1 Introduction
2 History, Society and the Sociological Imagination
3 Making Ecology Social History
4 The Campaign Kicks Off
5 Leo Drey - “To Strike a Blow for Conservation”
6 The Signature Petition Campaign
7 Roger Pryor - “When Change is Afoot”
8 The Campaign for Votes
9 Jay Lewis - “Rights and Responsibilities”
10 When the Good Guys Lose
11 The Problem of Doing Good
Appendix: Constructing the Biographical Chapters

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