Rich kids of Europe? Social basis and strategic choices in the climate activism of Fridays for Future Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2021

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 26

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0048-8402

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2057-4908


  • In 2018, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg began a school strike that quickly spread across the globe. After
    a ritual strike every Friday by school pupils to call for urgent action against climate change had gone on
    for several months, what had become Fridays for Future (FFF) called for various global days of action
    throughout 2019, bringing millions of people out onto the streets in the largest climate protests in
    world history. Drawing on unique protest survey data on FFF events across European cities in 2019,
    this article explores the structural bases of organized collective mobilization for climate justice.
    Nuancing narratives that focus on either the privileged background of climate justice protesters or
    the environmentalism of the poor, our results show the heterogeneity of the social composition of the
    protests, suggesting the need for cross-class alliances for mass mobilizations. Moreover, our analysis
    reveals that the social background of protesters shaped their attitudes regarding what institutions and
    approaches can be relied upon to tackle climate and environmental challenges. This suggests an important
    and under-studied connection between social background and the strategic choices of environmental


  • Sociology


  • climate change; fridays for future; protest; social class; social movements