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Linkage Politics and Complex Governance in Transatlantic Surveillance

  • Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman

Globalization blurs the traditional distinction between high and low politics, creating connections between previously discrete issue areas. An important existing literature focuses on how states may intentionally tie policy areas together to enhance cooperation. Building on recent scholarship in historical institutionalism, the authors emphasize how the extent of political discretion enjoyed by heads of state to negotiate and implement international agreements varies across issue areas. When policy domains are linked, so too are different domestic political configurations, each with its own opportunity structures or points of leverage. Opening up the possibility for such variation, the article demonstrates how actors other than states, such as nonstate and substate actors, use the heterogeneity of opportunity structures to influence negotiations and their institutional consequences. The authors examine the theory's purchase on international cooperation over intelligence, privacy, and data exchange in the transatlantic space in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the revelations made public by Edward Snowden in 2013. The findings speak to critical international relations debates, including the role of nonstate actors in diplomacy, the interaction between domestic and international politics, and the consequences of globalization and digital technologies for the relationship between international political economy and security.

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We thank Francesca Bignami, Rachel Epstein, Markus Jachtenfuchs, Miles Kahler, and Edward Mansfield; participants at the George Washington University Workshop on the EU at a Crossroads, the Hertie School Workshop on Internet and Global Governance, International Organization's Workshop on Security and International Political Economy, and the University of Denver's European Studies Seminar, for very valuable comments. We also thank three anonymous reviewers, as well as the editors of World Politics. Henry Farrell thanks the Woodrow Wilson Center for research support during his 2010–11 fellowship.

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