In Borders among Activists, Sarah S. Stroup challenges
the notion that political activism has gone beyond borders and
created a global or transnational civil society. Instead, at the
most globally active, purportedly cosmopolitan groups in the
world-international nongovernmental organizations
(INGOs)-organizational practices are deeply tied to national
environments, creating great diversity in the way these groups
organize themselves, engage in advocacy, and deliver services.
Stroup offers detailed profiles of these "varieties of activism"
in the United States, Britain, and France. These three countries
are the most popular bases for INGOs, but each provides a very
different environment for charitable organizations due to
differences in legal regulations, political opportunities,
resources, and patterns of social networks. Stroup's comparisons of
leading American, British, and French INGOs-Care, Oxfam, Médecins
sans Frontières, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and
FIDH-reveal strong national patterns in INGO practices, including
advocacy, fund-raising, and professionalization. These differences
are quite pronounced among INGOs in the humanitarian relief sector,
and are observable, though less marked, among human rights
Stroup finds that national origin helps account for variation in
the "transnational advocacy networks" that have received so much
attention in international relations. For practitioners, national
origin offers an alternative explanation for the frequently
lamented failures of INGOs in the field: INGOs are not inherently
dysfunctional, but instead remain disconnected because of their
strong roots in very different national environments.
Subjects: Political Science
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