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Transnational Civil Society and Advocacy in World Politics


This article takes stock of a plethora of recent works examining the flowering of transnational civil society activism in world politics. The author argues that this work contributes to a progressive research agenda that responds to a succession of criticisms from alternative perspectives. As the research program has advanced, new areas of inquiry have been opened up, including the need for a central place for normative international theory. The author also contends that the focus of this research on the transnationalization of civil society provides a trenchant response to an important puzzle concerning the leverage of civil society vis-à-vis the contemporary state in an era of globalization. Further, the liberal variant of transnational advocacy research constitutes a powerful theoretical counter not only to other nonliberal theories that privilege other agents or structures but also to other varieties of contemporary liberal international theory, such as those privileging preexisting domestic preference formation or state centric versions of liberal constructivism.

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Richard Price , “Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Targets Landmines,” International Organization 52 (Summer 1998), 628

Thomas Risse , Stephen Ropp , and Kathryn Sikkink , The Power of Human Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Christian Reus-Smit , “Imagining Society: Constructivism and the English School,” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 4 (October 2002), 504

Jeffrey Checkel , “Norms, Institutions, and National Identity in Contemporary Europe,” International Studies Quarterly 43 (March 1999)

Ethan Nadelmann , “Global Prohibition Regimes: The Evolution of Norms in International Society,” International Organization 44 (Autumn 1990)

Andrew Moravcsik , “Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics,” International Organization 51 (Autumn 1997)

Alexander Cooley and James Ron , “The NGO Scramble: Organizational Insecurity and the Political Economy of Transnational Action,” International Security 27 (Summer 2002)

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World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
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