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The Transnational Condition

The Transnational Condition: Protest Dynamics in an Entangled Europe

Edited by Simon Teune
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    The Transnational Condition
    Book Description:

    During the last two decades Europe has experienced a rise in transnational contention. Citizens are crossing borders to advance alternative visions of Europe. They spread protest concepts and tactics and explore new ways of organizing dissent. Far from being a recent phenomenon, transnational protest is obviously more salient in a world of international corporations and global political interaction, compounded by electronic communication and cheap travel. The transnational condition permeates all aspects of protest organization and dynamics - from individual biographies to activist networks to cycles of contention. The contributors offer insight into this multifaceted condition by combining rich empirical evidence with reflections on the problems of transnational research.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-971-0
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. x-x)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Sidney Tarrow

    ‘The transnational condition’? What kind of a condition is that, sceptics may ask? Clearly, if it were to be applied to the world in general, ‘parochial’ would be a word that came sooner to mind than ‘transnational’ to describe most peoples’ condition. Yet, if we shift our focus from individuals to the processes that encompass them, Teune and his collaborators are on to something. ‘Transationalisation’, Teune defines as ‘pluri-local relations of entanglement beyond national borders’, deriving the definition from German sociologist Ludger Pries. That definition is useful because it reflects both the scope and the ambiguities of what is happening...

  6. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Introduction: Protest in the Transnational Condition
    (pp. 1-20)
    Simon Teune

    It is hard to think about political protest without considering the transnational condition that comes into play in many contentious actions. If it is not the act of protest itself that is organised or conceived of in a transition of national borders, its preconditions and its reception are rarely limited to the framework of the nation state. In a context that is entangled in the sense that political and cultural formations are permeable and interconnected, protest itself is changing just as the social movements that carry many contentious events are changing.

    Protest mobilisations teach us about exchange across borders in...

  8. Micro-Level:: Transnational Activists and Organisations

    • Chapter One Transnational versus National Activism: A Systematic Comparison of ‘Transnationalists’ and ‘Nationalists’ Participating in the 2006 European and Belgian Social Forums
      (pp. 23-41)
      Stefaan Walgrave and Jeroen Van Laer

      Is activism located at a transnational level any different from activism located at the national or even local level? More concrete: is there any difference in terms of backgrounds, attitudes, or behaviour among activists that are active on a transnational level and activists that restrict their activities to a national level? While the question may seem trivial, the answers to it are important to understand the apparently spreading transnational activism phenomenon and its repercussions for local grassroots activism. Moreover, the question of whether national and transnational activism is different and whether activists active on one of these levels differ from...

    • Chapter Two How Do Activists Experience Transnational Protest Events? The Case of Young Global Justice Activists from Germany and France
      (pp. 42-64)
      Ariane Jossin

      For many observers, the rise of the global justice movements (GJMs)¹ in the late 1990s represented the advent of a transnational civil society. These movements rapidly spread their influence to all five continents. One of the most influential organisations, Attac, was established in thirty-nine countries.² And, the World Social Forum – traditionally hosted by the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil – was held in Asia and Africa in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

      Some time after the initial positive reactions to the GJMs, various sociological studies called into question the actual level of its transnationalism. Studies focussing on the GJMs...

  9. Meso-Level:: Transnational Networks, Transnational Public Spheres

    • Chapter Three Public Spheres within Movements: Challenging the (Re)search for a European Public Sphere
      (pp. 67-88)
      Christoph Haug

      The transnationalisation of social movements goes hand in hand with the transnationalisation of public spheres. In fact, social movements have often contributed to the diffusion of vital information across borders, creating awareness of social problems both at home and abroad. Because of this capacity to mobilise public opinion across borders, transnational social movements are generally seen as actors who are engaged in contentious debates. These debates and struggles over meaning take place within the given frameworks of communication, especially national media systems. Social movements – like other actors – feed these with claims in a coordinated way in different countries,...

    • Chapter Four Exploring Cosmopolitan and Critical Europeanist Discourses in the ESF Process as a Transnational Public Space
      (pp. 89-110)
      Nicole Doerr

      Genoa, July 2003: a meeting of activists in the arena of a public theatre. The air is full of voices and lively discussions in different languages. Activists from Europe’s global justice movement (GJM) have returned to the place where the demonstrations against the G8 summit took place in 2001. In Genoa, they will discuss the future of ‘another Europe’ and the organisation of the second European Social Forum (ESF) in Paris. This is one of the many European Preparatory Assemblies (European Assemblies) for the ESF. Activists have travelled to participate in this meeting from places as distant as Moscow and...

  10. Macro-Level:: Protest and Societal Systems

    • Chapter Five Reinventing Europe: Social Movement Activists as Critical Europeanists
      (pp. 113-128)
      Donatella della Porta

      Social movement studies, as other areas of the social sciences, have been late to address the phenomena of Europeanisation, and are still in search of adequate theories, concepts and methods to analyse them. There are several reasons for this. First, not exceptionally, most scholarship has, time and again, confirmed the important role that national political opportunities play in influencing social movement mobilisation, its scope, duration and forms. Protest event analysis time and again indicated that most contentious actions address the national, if not the local level. Second, and again not exceptionally, social movement studies (as well as research on other...

    • Chapter Six Porous Publics and Transnational Mobilisation
      (pp. 129-145)
      Thomas Olesen

      When people in Denmark speak about the Muhammed cartoons protests in early 2006, they often use the adjective ‘hit’: Denmark was hit by protests in the Muslim world, by a massive consumer boycott, by international criticism and so on. This way of phrasing the event reflects the shocked surprise that most Danes felt in the hectic period in late January/early February 2006. In a display of anger and protest normally reserved for mightier nations, Danish flags were trampled on, the Prime Minister burned in effigy and official representations attacked and set on fire. All because of twelve satirical cartoons of...

    • Chapter Seven Thinking about Transnational Diffusion and Cycles of Protest: The 1996–2005 Wave of Democratisation in Eastern Europe
      (pp. 146-164)
      Tsveta Petrova

      The Soviet block collapsed amid an epic wave of contention. Some of the former Soviet Union republics (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and some of the Central European former Soviet satellites (the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) quickly entered the ranks of capitalist democracies. The remaining majority of Eastern European post-socialist states transitioned to ‘hybrid regimes’ (Carothers 2002; Diamond 2002) or autocracies with mixed marketisation records (Dawisha and Parrott 1997; Offe 1997).

      Then, in the mid 1990s and later in the early 2000s, another wave of democratisation through the so-called electoral revolutions swept through post-socialist Central Europe, the Balkans and the...

  11. Methodology and Theory of Transnational Social Movement Research

    • Chapter Eight National Constraints and Scale Shift in Current Transnational Activism
      (pp. 167-185)
      Marco Giugni, Marko Bandler and Nina Eggert

      Since Charles Tilly’s path-breaking work on the emergence of the modern protest politics during the historical transformation from an old to a new repertoire of contention (Tilly 1984, 1986, 1995), social movements have been conceptualised as being inherently national or sub-national phenomena. Now, things seem to have changed. Over the past few years, transnational contention has increased considerably and a new collective actor has emerged. This new collective actor – which is defined variously as the no-global movement, anti-globalisation movement, alter-globalisation movement, global justice movement (GJM), movement for a globalisation from below, among other labels – includes a wide range...

    • Chapter Nine Individual Surveys in Rallies (INSURA): A New Tool for Exploring Transnational Activism?
      (pp. 186-210)
      Olivier Fillieule and Philippe Blanchard

      Social movement understanding has been dominated for a long time by a legitimist bias that conceived of demonstrators and protest actions as the product of deprivation and abnormal conduct. With the emergence of resource mobilisation theory (RMT), these interpretations have been radically replaced by models that emphasise the costs and benefits of participation in collective action as well as the importance of social movement organisations (SMOs) in mobilising resources and distributing positive or negative incentives. RMT was further refined by the growing importance in explanatory models of the so-called ‘political opportunity structure’, which helped to stress contextual factors in collective...

    • Chapter Ten Prisoners of our Concepts: Liberating the Study of Social Movements
      (pp. 211-227)
      Jackie Smith and Rachel Kutz-Flamenbaum

      We, as social movement scholars, have become prisoners of our concepts and our professions. Conventions established within the academy to organise our professional lives and to discipline our thinking have prevented many social movement scholars from recognising important changes taking place in the world that we purport to be trying to understand. Privileging Western-dominated and bounded understandings of the state, organisations and social movements, we have overlooked, to a large extent, the important ways social movements are continuously transforming social and political relations. Although concepts such as social movements are defined in relational terms, they have remained fairly static in...

  12. Contributors
    (pp. 228-230)
  13. Index
    (pp. 231-233)