Contrary to the negative stereotypes associated with NIMBYism, Carol Hager’s contribution to the “Just Environments” series demonstrates how NIMBY protests can be beneficial components of participatory politics that result in social, political, and technological innovation. Contrasting case studies from Germany and the United States, Hager examines how, with varying degrees of success, local residents are able to resist unwanted development and environmental threats while imagining more progressive alternatives. In this light, NIMBY protests can be seen as initiating processes of community learning and innovation.
Carol Hager is Professor of Political Science on the Clowes Professorship in Science and Public Policy at Bryn Mawr College, where she served as director of the Center for Social Sciences from 2010 to 2017. Her research focuses on citizen participation in issue areas with high technical content, particularly energy politics. She is the author of Technological Democracy: Bureaucracy and Citizenry in the German Energy Debate (The University of Michigan Press, 1995), coeditor of NIMBY is Beautiful: Cases of Local Activism and Environmental Innovation Around the World (with Mary Alice Haddad; Berghahn, 2015), and coeditor of Germany's Energy Transition: A Comparative Perspective (with Christoph Stefes; Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). Her articles have appeared in journals such as the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, German Politics and Society, and German Studies Review. Her research has been funded by the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. She received a postdoctoral fellowship in 1992-1993 as part of the SSRC’s Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies. She received her PhD in political science at the University of California, San Diego, and her BA in German at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.