From NIMBY to enlightened resistance: A framework proposal to decrypt land-use disputes based on a landfill opposition case in France

Abstract : NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) supporters are presented as citizens opposed to new local developments whose costs are perceived to be only local though the aims are for general gains. However, these conflicts have proven much more complex than the NIMBY concept can explain. The objective of this paper is to provide a framework to facilitate the understanding of opposition movements and how they can affect society at large by triggering social change. The conceptual framework is applied to a case of local opposition to a landfill project in the village of Saint-Escobille (Essonne, France). Through analysis of the structure of the opposition movement and the changes it underwent over time, the author shows how such movements can evolve into a social movement that enriches democracy through the constitution of four types of capital: social capital, scientific capital, patrimonial capital and political capital. The authors argue that scientific and patrimonial capitals allow social capital to evolve into political capital. The shift from being a self-interest to a civic interest movement takes place through enlightened resistance, which reveals local public interest, called territorial interests. In the study of environmental controversies, the authors emphasize the importance of recognizing the evolution through time of (1) the social landscape, (2) the different types of legitimate knowledge, (3) the role of place attachment, and (4) the political dimension of identities. After reviewing three approaches to the NIMBY phenomena in the literature, the paper exposes its conceptualization of land-use disputes. It ends with a discussion of the concepts of common interest and participation, two controversial notions which need to be clarified.
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Léa Sébastien. From NIMBY to enlightened resistance: A framework proposal to decrypt land-use disputes based on a landfill opposition case in France. Local Environment, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2017, 22 (4), pp.461-477. ⟨hal-02010493⟩

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