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Advancing Theory and Informing

Practice in Transnational Civil Society:
Toward Meaningful North-South
Research Collaborations


James V. Riker

August 2003

Global Governance Working Paper No. 1
The Democracy Collaborative
University of Maryland-College Park
Advancing Theory and Informing Practice
in Transnational Civil Society:
Toward Meaningful North-South
Research Collaborations
James V. Riker,1

ABSTRACT: With the growing importance of non-state and civil society actors engaged
in advocacy beyond the state, there is a critical need for systematic theorization of
transnational civil society that synthesizes the ongoing scholarly research and goes
beyond to take fuller account of the theoretical perspectives and practical experiences of
researchers and practitioners around the world. This study provides an initial survey of
research, educational, training, and practitioner-scholar engagement initiatives about
transnational civil society in the North and South. The study explores possible models
for fostering mutually supportive and meaningful North-South research collaborations
that advance theory and inform practice in transnational civil society.

KEY WORDS: global civil society, transnational civil society; transnational networks;
transnational coalitions; transnational social movements; North-South research


In the late-twentieth century, contemporary world politics has seen the increasing
importance and vital role of non-state, non-governmental, and civil society actors at the
international, transnational, and global levels. A growing body of research is now

1. Correspondence should be directed to James V. Riker, Associate Director, The Democracy
Collaborative, 1230 Tawes Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7255, USA, e-mail:

emerging on the dimensions of transnational civil society and its relevance for
understanding political and social change (Smith et al., 1997; Keck and Sikkink 1998;
Florini, 2000; Scholte, 2000a; Iriye, 2002; Edwards and Gaventa, 2001; Anheier et al.,
2001, 2002; Khagram et al., 2002a; Batliwala, 2002). There is a need for systematic
theorization of transnational civil society that synthesizes the ongoing scholarly research
and goes beyond to take fuller account of the theoretical perspectives and practical
experiences of researchers and practitioners around the world. This survey highlights the
key conceptual issues, leading disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspectives, and
primary actors characterizing and contributing to research on transnational civil society.
This paper provides an initial assessment of the research, training, and policy
initiatives that broadly support the analysis and development of transnational civil
society. The focus of this survey is to assess how to best build on and to expand existing
research that contributes to advancing theory and informing practice about transnational
civil society. Specifically, this study makes the case for expanding the scope and for
improving the quality of research on transnational civil society by identifying priority
themes, geographical areas, and activities for collaboration among university academic
centers, think tanks and independent research institutes, transnational networks and
international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in both the North and South.
The main questions guiding this survey include: what is the present (non-) state of
research on transnational civil society? What are the main findings and what are key gaps
in the research to date? What are the leading centers of expertise on transnational civil
society, in terms of university academic centers, think tanks and independent research
institutes, transnational networks and international non-governmental organizations, and
professional associations? What are these centers presently doing on transnational civil
society in terms of ongoing research, training, practitioner engagement, policy analysis,
professional development, and activism? Finally, what are possible models for
meaningful North-South research collaborations that advance theory and inform practice
about transnational civil society?
A useful framework is to distinguish between the leading theoretical approaches,
definitions and conceptual issues. International civil society is conceptualized as an
extension of domestic politics to the international realm of non-state, voluntary actors

such as nongovernmental and civil society groups that interact across states (Ghils, 1992;
Colás, 2002; Merle, 2002). The emphasis on transnational civil society focuses on
interactions of non-state, voluntary actors across multiple national boundaries, but
recognizes that the scope and density of civil society varies across space (e.g., geographic
regions) and issue area (e.g., sectoral issues). It is conceived as a fragmented and
contested space or “arena of struggle” shaped by non-state, voluntary actors interactions
and relations with states, corporations, international institutions, and other actors (Keck
and Sikkink, 1998, p. 33). Global civil society is the sphere of civic activity
characterized by citizen action on global issues, trans-border communication, and
solidarity that transcends the nation-state (Scholte, 2000a). By asserting the all-
encompassing nature of civic activity, it inaccurately implies that the contours of civil
society are spread evenly across the globe. The empirical evidence to date suggests that
the density and distribution of civil society organizations varies across geographic
Research within and across disciplines in the social sciences and beyond have
addressed various aspects of transnational civil society. This survey is based on a review
of the (mainly English-speaking) scholarly literature. The great majority of the literature
on transnational civil society has come from scholars and practitioners with training in
the social sciences from the North. The growing literature on transnational phenomena
has taken distinctive conceptualizations in different disciplines, ranging from
transnational communities in the field of anthropology to global civil society in political
theory and sociology (see Table 1 below). Beyond these main academic disciplines, there
are also useful multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives on transnational phenomena.
Given that much of the work to date has been within disciplinary boundaries, there is a
critical need to compare and juxtapose the various concepts, and to identify promising
and productive ways to connect and integrate the analysis of transnational phenomena
across disciplines.
What are the primary actors in transnational civil society that engage in non-state
advocacy at the transnational level? Four different forms of non-state actors –
international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), transnational advocacy networks,
transnational coalitions, and transnational social movements – are the main actors in

transnational civil society characterized by different degrees of connection, coordination,
and mobilization (Keck and Sikkink 1998; Khagram et al., 2002b). These four actors can
be viewed as ascending levels of transnational collective action.2
International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) are defined as voluntary,
nonprofit groups that have representation and decision-making structure that draws on
multiple countries and that seek to influence issues that are cross-national or international
in scope (Keck and Sikkink, 1998; Khagram et al., 2002b). INGOs increasingly play an
advocacy role in a wide range of global public policy networks that define and shape
global policy and practice from human rights to human development and security
(Reinicke, 1999/2000).
Transnational advocacy networks (TANs) are the most informal form of non-state,
transnational collective action. The networks are sets of actors linked across country
boundaries, bound together by shared values, dense exchanges of information and
services, and common discourses (Keck and Sikkink, 1998; Khagram et al., 2002). TANs
rely on information exchange and shared values as the basis for informal as well as
formal network activity. Networks do not involve either sustained coordination of
tactics, as with coalitions, or mobilizing large numbers of people in the kind of activity
we associate with social movements.
Transnational coalitions engage in a greater level of coordinated activity than TANs.
Transnational coalitions are sets of actors linked across country boundaries that
coordinate shared strategies or sets of tactics to influence social change (Khagram et al.,
2002b, p. 7). The shared strategies or sets of tactics are identified as transnational
campaigns, which may take the form of boycotts, buycotts, or policy initiatives. This
level of coordination of tactics requires a more formal level of contact than a network,
because groups usually need to meet to identify and agree upon these shared tactics, to
strategize about how to implement the campaign, and to report regularly to each other on
campaign progress. Given the various successes in a number of issue areas to date
ranging from human rights, to peace, and the anti-dams coalitions, the role of
transnational coalitions will likely increase. A key research issue is how adaptable and

2 This section on the four main actors draws directly from Khagram, Riker, & Sikkink, 2002b, p. 7.

durable will transnational coalitions be in addressing other issue areas (e.g., labor,
conflict prevention) as well.

Table 1: Key Concepts of Transnational Phenomena by Academic Discipline

Academic Discipline Key Concepts of Transnational Representative Works
Anthropology Transnational Communities Appadurai, 1996; Boli &
Thomas, 1999; Riles, 2000.

Development Studies Transnational Civil Society Florini, 2000; Edwards &
Gaventa, 2001.

Education Transnational Civil Society Mundy & Murphy, 2001.

International Relations International Civil Society Ghils, 1992; Peterson, 1992;
Merle, 2002.

Transnational Civil Society Keck & Sikkink, 1998; Florini,
2000; Ghils, 2000; Khagram et
al., 2002a.
Transnational Politics and
Contention Risse-Kappen, 1995; Tarrow,
2001, 2002.
Political Theory Global Civil Society Lipschutz, 1992, 2000; Wapner,
1994, 1996, 2000; Walzer, 1995;
Lipschutz with Meyer, 1996;
Falk, 1998, 2000; Scholte,
2000a; Norris, 2002.

Sociology Transnational and Global Social Smith et al.,1997; Cohen & Rai,
Movements 2000; O’Brien et al., 2000;
Tarrow, 2000; Smith &
Johnston, 2002

Sociology Global Society Shaw, 1994.

Transnational Public Sphere Habermas, 1996; Guidry et al.,

Interdisciplinary Global Civil Society Salamon et al.,1999; Anheier et
Perspectives al., 2001.

Interdisciplinary Civic Globalism Boulding, 1988; Barber, 2000;
Perspectives Naidoo, 2000; Myers, 2001.

Transnational social movements are sets of actors with common purposes and
solidarities linked across country boundaries that have the capacity to generate
coordinated and sustained social mobilization in more than one country to publicly
influence social change. A full-fledged, transnational social movement is defined as
transnational collective action whereby groups in at least three countries must exercise
their capacity to engage in joint and sustained mobilization (Khagram et al., 2002b, p. 7).
In contrast to transnational networks and coalitions, transnational social movements
mobilize their (transnational) constituencies for collective action, often through the use of
protest or disruptive action (Khagram et al., 2002b). Transnational social movements are
the most difficult and rare form of transnational collective action (cf., Tarrow, 2000).
Transnational social movements have mobilized citizens to advocate for debt relief,
democratic governance, human rights, peace, sustainable development, and women’s
rights (Smith et al., 1997; Edwards and Gaventa, 2001; O’Brien et al., 2001; Khagram et
al., 2002a). Thus, to the extent that they are effective in achieving social change,
transnational social movements with their capacity for popular mobilization and
disruption offer the possibility for having a greater impact than other forms of
transnational advocacy. Due to strong ties of solidarity for coordinated action among its
constituencies, transnational social movements will also likely exhibit a higher level of
transnational collective identity.
What are key resources and bases for transnational collective action? Ultimately, the
power of transnational civil society groups to affect political and social change is in the
art of persuasion. Through the strategic use and framing of information, and the
mobilization of economic resources and political support, transnational civil society
groups exert influence on states, businesses, and international institutions. To the extent
that they have broad-based, accountable representation with effective performance, these
organizations command legitimacy.
In what arenas and issue areas has research on transnational civil society advocacy
advanced collective understanding about the state of practice? Table 2 below provides an
initial summary of leading analyses of key issue areas where transnational civil society
advocacy has contributed to advancing theory and informing practice. The issue areas
range from democratization and governance, environment and natural resource

management, global economy trade, human rights, labor rights, peace and conflict
prevention, to women and gender justice.
There are signs that linkages across issue areas are now being forged. For instance,
increasingly transnational civil society groups working on human rights, development,
and environment are converging in a rights-based approach to development (Nelson,
2002b). In addition, there are attempts to link and integrate peace-keeping, humanitarian
relief, and human security issues as well (Shaw and Mbabazi, 2002). Undergirding this
analysis is the importance of understanding how macro institutional and political
structures affect the possibilities for agency by transnational actors to foster durable
political and social change in any issue area.
This survey has identified four distinct areas for key research issues. First, and
foremost, further research must address important theoretical issues. This means
clarifying key conceptual and definitional issues about transnational vs. global
phenomena and processes in civil society beyond the state. Specifically, how do we
understand the relationship between social structures and agency in terms of macro-micro
linkages? Second, there are important normative issues that also must be addressed. The
emphasis is on the norms and values that guide the conduct of transnational civil society
actors. What are the factors that affect the legitimacy of transnational civil society actors
(e.g., internal vs. external democratic practices)? To what extent do the practices of
transnational civil society actors conform to normative theory? When and where do the
deviate, and why?

Table 2: Key Issue Areas of Transnational Civil Society Research

Issue Area Key Research Key Research Needs Representative Works
Findings And Gaps

Democratization • Transnational • Asymmetries in power Schwartzman, 1998;
and Governance advocacy and social relations require the Barber, 2000; Falk,
mobilization has development of 2000; Kumar, 2000;
contributed to, in effective democratic Holden, 2000;
certain contexts, mechanisms for Anderson, 2002; Baker,
democratizing the representation, 2002; Etzioni-Halevy,
practices of states deliberation and 2002; Mbabazi et al.,
and international decision-making 2002; Riker, 2002;
institutions. among transnational Rikkila & Sehm
actors, states, and Patomaki 2002.

Environment and • Transnational • How can transnational Lipschutz with Mayer,
Natural advocacy can civil society actors, 1996; Wapner, 1996;
Resource strengthen states, business and Khagram, 2002;
Management environmental international Rootes, 2002; Ford,
governance and institutions create 2003.
practices of states effective governance
and international mechanisms and forms
institutions. for environmental

Global Economy • Transnational • What are the main Gills, 2000; Broad,
and Trade advocacy and organizational bases for 2002; Scholte &
mobilization has transnational advocacy Schnabel, 2002; Smith
targeted the to affect the forms and & Johnston, 2002.
economic policies trajectory of economic
and practices of globalization?
states and

Human Rights • Effective • Under what conditions Keck & Sikkink, 1998;
transnational does transnational Risse et al., 1999;
advocacy has led to advocacy leads states Brysk, 2002; Frost,
the creation and and international 2002; Khagram et al.,
promotion of norms institutions to adopt 2002.
for human rights. and to enforce human
rights norms?

Issue Area Key Research Key Research Needs Representative Works
Findings And Gaps

Labor Rights • Transnational labor • What are the political Waterman, 1998;
activism has, in and economic Kidder, 2002; Munck,
particular contexts, conditions for effective 2002.
contributed to organizing, solidarity,
enhancing labor and advocacy by
rights by targeting transnational labor
and monitoring the networks?
policies and
practices of
corporations and

Peace and • Transnational civil • Further research is Smith et al., 1997;
Conflict society actors can needed on effective Shaw & Mbabazi,
Resolution play critical roles in mechanisms and roles 2002.
resolving conflicts, of transnational civil
promoting human society actors in
security, and promoting conflict
supporting peace- prevention and peace-
building initiatives. building.

Women and • Transnational civil • What are effective Keck & Sikkink, 1998;
Gender Justice society actors mechanisms and forms Riles, 2000; True &
engaged in gender for promoting gender Mintrom, 2001.
justice are justice that enable
promoting a broad representation
distinctive gender- and are accountable?
based perspective
and identity with
new norms for
ensuring and
protecting women’s

A third area for research is to assess the impact that transnational civil society groups
have on fostering political and social change. How do we understand and analyze the
forms of power and influence that these groups have in different contexts? For example,
differences in domestic structures help account for variations in the policy impact of
transnational actors (Risse-Kappen, 1995:25). In the process of gauging the impact of

transnational non-state actors in influencing political and social change, it is important to
review and strengthen various methodological approaches for the analysis of
transnational phenomena. Several key research questions emerge: How to gauge and
measure the influence of transnational civil society organizations in influencing norms,
expectations, and policies? How does the political environment shape the possibilities for
transnational civil society advocacy? For instance, as states or international institutions
seek either to mobilize or to demobilize transnational civil society actors, what are the
implications for democracy, participation, and collective action? Are the efforts of
transnational civil society actors promoting democratization or not? How, and to what
extent, are transnational social movements fostering durable systemic change in power
structures at the transnational and national levels?
Finally, further research is needed to address the institutional and policy issues that
affect the possibilities for strengthening transnational civil society. What mechanisms
(e.g., codes of conducts) and infrastructure can strengthen transnational civil society as a
whole? What are the lessons for building effective coalitions, campaigns, and social
movements? What are the institutional possibilities for fostering effective relations (i.e.,
collaboration) among governments, businesses, and transnational civil society actors?

What are the leading research centers with expertise on transnational civil society in
the North and South? What are key areas that each center is engaged, in terms of
research, training, teaching, practitioner-scholar engagement, and policy development?
This survey represents an initial review of the leading academic centers, think tanks and
research institutes, transnational networks and INGOs, and professional associations that
have a demonstrated substantive focus on transnational civil society. Please note that this
list does not include the many individual scholars, independent researchers and
practitioners who work on transnational civil society, but are not affiliated with a leading
center, think tank or organization.
The leading academic centers presently engaged in research and training on
transnational civil society are predominantly located at universities in the North,
principally in Europe and the United States, but also including Australia, Israel, and

Japan (see Table 3). These 18 academic centers represent a wide range of conceptual
approaches, disciplines, and varied research and educational agendas. Recognizing the
importance of linking research to practice, the majority of academic centers have
explicitly developed activities to foster some form of practitioner-researcher engagement
(Brown, 2001). Several academic centers have developed special Masters and Ph.D.
level degree programs to meet the particular professional needs of prospective students
and practitioners. Further analysis is required to ascertain the specific composition (e.g.,
gender, nationality) and profile of students (e.g., previous educational and professional
experience) in these graduate level programs and how they are applying their professional
skills and knowledge of transnational civil society upon graduation in academic centers,
think-tanks, and transnational networks and international organizations. For a list of
leading of northern academic centers see Table 3.
In the developing world or South, a number of academic centers address domestic
dimensions of civil society in their respective countries, but just a few academic centers
have ongoing research and training that explicitly address the transnational dimensions of
civil society. Significant asymmetries exist among the research capacities of Northern
and Southern academic centers in terms of funding, trained scholars and researchers, and
supportive institutional infrastructure (Fowler, 2002). While individual scholars in the
South are engaged in research on various aspects of transnational civil society, few are
affiliated with academic centers that support their research. These dynamics have
important implications for building institutional capacity in each of the developing
regions. The key issue is what opportunities are available to promising scholars,
researchers and practitioners to pursue high-quality graduate education and training on
transnational civil society at academic centers in the South. Concerted effort is needed to
encourage the development and training of a new generation of scholars, researchers and
practitioners from the South who provide valuable theoretical perspectives and insights
derived from their experiences in engaging in transnational civil society. For a list of four
leading southern academic centers see Table 4.
Around the world, several leading think-tanks and independent research institutes
have ongoing research initiatives focused on various aspects of transnational civil society.
Think tanks and research institutes can play vital roles in undertaking research and

engaging in public policy advocacy in a number of issue areas (Stone et al., 1998; Stone,
2002; Struyk, 2002). In addition to research, several of these organizations are involved
in transnational advocacy and campaigns focused on addressing economic globalization,
human rights, and the role of multilateral institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and
WTO. Table 5 provides a list of leading think tanks and research institutes engaged in
research on transnational civil society.
Several leading transnational networks and international non-governmental
organizations (INGOs) have also established ongoing research and programmatic
initiatives focused on analyzing power relations, mobilizing the resources, and
strengthening the strategies and practices of groups in transnational civil society to foster
political and social change. These organizations all have extensive formal and informal
links to other networks and organizations around the world engaged in transnational
advocacy on a wide range of issues from democratic governance, food security, human
rights, reforming economic globalization and trade, global governance, poverty
eradication, and social welfare policies. Table 6 presents a list of leading transnational
networks and international non-governmental organizations engaged in research on
transnational civil society.
Beyond existing disciplinary professional associations, several interdisciplinary
professional associations offer scholars and, to a lesser degree, practitioners venues to
come together regularly to address and to support research about various aspects of
transnational civil society. More should be done by leading academic centers to
strengthen the quality and to increase the visibility and profile of research on
transnational civil society in these professional associations. In addition, more concerted
efforts are required to bring scholars, graduate students, practitioners and activists,
especially from the South, to these professional associations to help shape and inform the
research agenda on transnational civil society. The most promising professional
associations for interdisciplinary, cross-regional analysis on transnational civil society
The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action
(ARNOVA) is the leading interdisciplinary professional association in North America for
research on civil society. ARNOVA organizes an annual meeting and sponsors the

journal Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. A special issue of the journal in 1999
focused on how Northern NGOs are adapting to the challenges of globalization in
providing humanitarian relief and promoting development initiatives around the world.
There is a critical need to increase the level of international and transnational research
from the South at its annual conference. Concerted efforts are needed to recruit and to
support the participation of international graduate students and scholars to affirm and
validate the importance of transnational civil society research. One proposal would be to
organize a special section on international and transnational civil society so that panels,
keynote, and award sessions are specifically devoted to this important field of study
(Web site: <>).
The International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) is the leading
international, interdisciplinary professional association on Third Sector and civil society
research that organizes bi-annual conferences and periodic regional meetings, and
sponsors the journal Voluntas. Participation by international scholars and researchers has
been generally good (especially with fellowship and travel support), but more concerted
efforts are required to increase the participation of practitioners, especially from the
South. In May 2002, ISTR, Voluntas, and the Centre for Development Studies at the
University of Bergen in Norway jointly convened a research workshop on global civil
society that led to the December 2002 issue of Voluntas (Web site: <>).
The International Studies Association (ISA) has over 3,000 members principally
from North America and Europe, with mainly scholarly representation from over 65
countries. ISA organizes an annual convention and publishes two journals. The main
sections that have regularly organized and supported research on transnational civil
society include Environmental Studies, Global Development, and International
Organization. More efforts are required to enable scholars, graduate students, and
practitioners from the South to participate in the annual and relevant international and
regional meetings (Web site: <>).
The Society for International Development (SID) is an international non-
governmental network consisting of 65 local chapters, 55 institutional and 3,000
individual members in 125 countries. SID organizes a major world congress every three
years and publishes the journal Development: Seeds of Change, which has featured

perspectives on transnational civil society from Southern scholars and practitioners as
well as dialogues about North-South collaboration. This association deliberately draws on
development professionals and practitioners from both the South and North in terms of
governance and participation (Web site: <>).
The Union of International Associations (UIA) facilitates understanding about new
forms of international association and transnational cooperation by conducting research
on nonprofit international organizations and international non-governmental networks.
UIA publishes the interdisciplinary journal Transnational Associations, which focuses on
the major issues affecting international nongovernmental organizations, and the Yearbook
of International Organizations, which provides an annual review and database of over
31,000 nonprofit international organizations and serves as a comprehensive “guide to
global civil society networks” (Web site: <>).

What are the possibilities for fostering the development of multi-institutional
collaboration among leading academic centers, think tanks and research centers,
transnational networks and INGOs, and professional associations that are engaged in
transnational civil society and are committed to address this theme through research,
teaching, practitioner engagement, and/or activism? A key priority is to develop
meaningful forms of collaboration that enable scholars, researchers, and practitioners
from academic centers and practitioner organizations in both the South and North to
participate as equals in the formulation, design, implementation and evaluation of
transnational civil society research. Special attention should be given to the specific
objectives, forms, and themes of collaboration and how they build and enhance the
capacity of centers in the South to engage in research, teaching, training, advocacy,
policy analysis, and professional development. Accordingly, the research perspectives
and insights of Southern participants should be addressed upfront in defining the
elements for successful collaboration. Three possible models are presented to initiate
ideas and to facilitate discussion about the specific objectives, forms, and thematic areas
for fostering meaningful North-South research collaborations focused on transnational
civil society.

A first possible model is to create a transnational civil society research network
comprised of academic centers and practitioner organizations in both the North and
South. A deliberate effort should be made to connect and to expand the growing number
of scholars, researchers, and practitioners engaged in transnational civil society research.
This means building on the ongoing research initiatives of academic centers, think tanks,
and transnational networks and international nongovernmental organizations engaged in
transnational civil society. Given the diversity of existing research approaches and
initiatives already underway around the world, the emphasis would be to build on the
complementary strengths of each center and organization to support joint research,
development of methodological approaches, a research exchange and information
network, practitioner-scholar engagement, and professional development. Specifically,
the main components include: developing collaborative research initiatives across centers
on shared themes from diverse perspectives that advance theory and inform practice on
transnational civil society; testing and documenting innovative methodological
techniques for analysis of transnational civil society (e.g., participatory action research,
process tracing); facilitating joint exchange, discussion and dissemination of research
findings by developing a coordinated, web-based capacity with links to multiple sites
(both academic and practitioner focused) around the world to enable broad usage;
enhancing practitioner-scholar engagement through knowledge generation, reflection,
and practice that links practitioner organizations with academic centers; and supporting
high-quality training and networking of scholars and researchers by providing
professional development opportunities through exchanges, fellowships, and participation
in professional associations and networks.
A second possible model is to create a capacity-building network for research and
training on transnational civil society. A concerted long-term effort is needed to develop
and to strengthen the research and training capacities of academic centers, transnational
networks, and international nongovernmental organizations engaged in transnational civil
society research. In addition to building the research and training capacities of existing
centers and organizations on transnational civil society, it will mean developing new
potential academic centers and practitioner organizations in under-represented areas of
the world (e.g., Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America). Specifically,

the main components include: building and strengthening the research capacity of
existing and new academic centers and transnational civil society actors, especially in the
South. Academic centers and practitioner organizations should jointly formulate in shared
research initiatives (with applied components, see below); developing the teaching and
training program for the next generation of scholars and practitioners with an emphasis
on inter-generational mentoring and learning; designing, testing, and exchanging
curricular and research training materials; focusing on exchanges of both practitioners
and scholars to facilitate effective and innovative practice; and strengthening the capacity
for policy and political analysis of the possibilities and obstacles for fostering durable
political and social change.
Another promising model for collaboration would be to create scholar-practitioner
research networks that directly inform and strengthen advocacy strategies and effective
practice in transnational civil society. First, these research networks could collectively
engage in either regional groupings that link academic centers with practitioner
organizations based on relevant regional or sub-regional interests (i.e., Africa, Asia,
Eastern Europe, Latin America), or in sectoral and thematic groupings that link academic
centers with practitioner organizations based on relevant sectoral or thematic interests
(e.g., democratization, environment, globalization, human rights, sustainable
development, trade, etc.). Second, practitioners and scholars in both the North and South
can be productively engaged in creating ongoing research networks that directly support
practitioner initiatives focused on issue-based action such as campaigns. For example,
the transnational advocacy campaigns of practitioner-based organizations can be
enhanced by linking to other practitioner organizations and academic centers with
expertise on the particular issue area (e.g., environmental protection, human rights). The
emphasis would be on how to improve the effectiveness of transnational campaigns by
stimulating analysis and reflection about strategies and lessons from previous and
ongoing efforts. Third, practitioner-based organizations are experimenting with a number
of participatory action research methodologies in the field. Academic centers can learn
from the ongoing experiences of practitioner-based organizations and can provide
additional support in the forms of curricula and training materials on participatory
methodologies, and assist in testing various techniques in the field working

collaboratively with practitioner-based organizations. Finally, there is a critical need to
strengthen the political and policy analysis capacities of practitioner-based organizations
to evaluate and to reflect critically on the impact of their transnational advocacy in terms
of influencing policy and contributing to political and social change. Scholars and
researchers from academic centers can work with practitioner-based organizations to
enhance analysis and strategic thinking about the obstacles to, effective interventions for,
and appropriate indicators for broader social change. Together these models offer
possible steps toward creating meaningful North-South research collaborations for
advancing theory and informing practice in transnational civil society.

TABLE 3: Leading Transnational Main Practitioner-Scholar Education, Teaching, & Key Publications
Academic Centers in Civil Society Research Engagement Training
the North Themes Areas
Center for Civil Society • Global Civil • Comparative • Comparative • Certificate in • Global Civil Society:
Studies, Johns Hopkins Society Nonprofit Law Dimensions of Nonprofit Dimensions of the
University, MD, USA • Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector Management Nonprofit Sector (1999)
International Third • Global Nonprofit • International Fellows • Working Paper Series Sector Information Program
System Project • Partnering for Results
• M.A. in Policy

Center for Civil Society, • Global Civil • Measuring Global • Concentration in • Global Civil Society
School of Public Policy Society Civil Society Leadership and (2002)
and Social Research, • Globalization Management in • Working Paper Series
University of California • Governance & Nonprofit and
at Los Angeles (UCLA) Organization of Community-Based
Transnational Civil Organizations Society • Developing
/default.cfm • International Executive Education
Philanthropy Program

Centre for Civil Society, • Global Civil • Measuring Global • Governance & • Master of Science in • Global Civil Society
London School of Society Civil Society Organization of Voluntary Sector Report (2001)
Economics, UK (yearbook) Transnational Organization • In Search of Civil Society
• NGOs and Civil Society • Master of Science in (2001) Development Management of • Working Paper Series
ns/CCS/ • Governance & Nongovernmental
Organization of Organizations
Transnational Civil • Ph. D. in Social
Society Policy
• European Union & • Ph.D. Dissertation
the Third Sector Network
• Accountability &
Ethics of
International Civil

Centre for Democratic • International • Accountability • Democracy • NGO Leadership • Bringing Democracy into
Institutions, Research Civil Society • Civil Society Learning Circles Courses International Law
School of Social Advocacy • NGO • Degree programs in • Newsletter
Sciences, Australian • Governance Leadership, existing academic
National University, • Human Rights Management departments
Canberra, • Judicial Process & Training
AUSTRALIA Law • NGO Policy &
• Media Advocacy • Parliamentary Training

Centre for Development • Transnational • Civil Society • Leadership • M.A. and Ph.D. • Angels of Mercy or
Studies, University of Civil Society Building Training degrees in academic Development Diplomats:
Bergen, Bergen, • Development Aid Seminars departments NGOs & Foreign Aid
NORWAY • Dimensions of (1998)
Transnational Civil • Working Papers Society
come.htm • Human Rights
• Poverty Alleviation
Centre for the Study of • Global Civil • Civil Society • Civil Society • Masters of Public • Civil Society and Global
Globalization & Society Building Promotion of Administration Finance (2002)
Regionalization, • Global Economic Democracy in • Contesting Global
University of Warwick, Institutions the Global Governance (2000)
UK • Measuring Economy • Global Social Movements
Globalization and (2000) Its Impacts • Non-State Actors &
r/ • Globalization & Authority in the Global
Social Exclusion System (1999)
• Global Civil • Working Paper Series
• Transnational
Social Movements

Center for the Study of • International • International • Practitioner • Master of Public • Working Paper Series
Voluntary Organizations Civil Society Dimensions of Training: Policy – Public
& Service (CSVOS), Nonprofit Sector Executive Management &

Georgetown University, • World Values Education Nonprofit Studies
DC, USA Survey Program Track
• Executive Certificate in Nonprofit
rad/gppi/scholarship/fa Management
culty/csvos.html • Executive Masters of
Policy Management

The Democracy • Transnational • Civic Globalism • Practitioner- • M.A. and Ph.D. • The Theory and
Collaborative, Civil Society • Civil Society Scholar degree programs in Practice of Civic
University of • Global Civil Building Reflection Democracy Studies Globalism (2001)
Maryland, MD, USA Society • Comparative focused on under development • Learning from
Research on Systemic Change Reflective Practitioners
www.democracycollabo Performance of (in collaboration and Engaged Democratic States with The Academics (2002)
• Democratic Advocacy • Globalization, Terror,
Governance & Institute) and Democracy
Empowerment • Democratic (forthcoming)
• Global Civic Empowerment • Working Paper Series
Infrastructure Learning
• Human Rights Network
• Minorities at Risk • International
• Transnational Roundtables on
Social Movements Civic Globalism
• Transnational
Dimensions of

Graduate School of • Transnational • Accountability of • Specialized • Master of • Newsletter
Public & International Civil Society International NGOs Masters International • Working Paper Series
Affairs (GSPIA), • Global Governance concentration in Development
University of • Human Rights nonprofit • Masters & Ph.D.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA • Transnational Civil management Degrees in Public
Society Advocacy and International Affairs

The Hauser Center for • Transnational • Accountability of • Fostering • Master in Public • The Struggle for
Nonprofit Civil Society International NGOs Practice- Administration – Accountability: The
Organizations, Harvard • Building Research Nonprofit World Bank, NGOs, and
University, MA, USA Transnational Civil Engagement Management Grassroots Movements
Society • Women in (1998) • Human Rights Informal • Practice-Research
auser/ • International Employment Engagement (2001)
Alliances & Globalizing and • Working Paper Series
Transnational Organizing
Coalitions (WIEGO)
• Transnational
Social Movements
• Women and the
Informal Economy
Institute for • Global Civil • Analyzing Nature • Participatory • Masters of • Global Citizen Action
Development Studies Society & Functions of Research & Philosophy in (2001)
(IDS), University of Civil Society Action (PRA) Development • Working Paper Series
Sussex, UK • Civil Society and • Networking and Studies
Governance Capacity- • M.A. in • Globalization building Governance &
c/index.html • Institutional Development
Learning & • M.A. in Gender
Change Studies
• Participation in
Politics and

Institute of Social • Global Civil • Global Governance • Diploma • M.A. in • Globalization, Social
Studies (ISS), the Society • Democratization program for Development Movements, and the New
Hague, • Regionalization practitioners Studies Internationalism (1998)
NETHERLANDS • Transnational • Ph.D. in • Global Futures: Shaping
Social Movements Development Globalization (2001) (Anti-globalization, Studies • Working Paper Series
Labor, Women) • Diploma program
for practitioners

Institute of • Global Civil • Civil Society • Commonwealth • M.A. in Human • Working Paper Series
Commonwealth Studies Society Building Human Rights Rights
(ICS), University of • Democratic Initiative (CHRI) • Masters of Science
London, UK Governance & Network in Globalization &
• Globalization Regionalization • Human Rights
wealthstudies/ • Regionalization
• Transnational
Social Movements

Israeli Center for Third • International • Civil Society • Association of • M.A. and Ph.D. • Mobilizing for Peace:
Sector Research, Ben Civil Society Development Third Sector and degrees in Peace/Conflict Resolution
Gurion University of • Dimensions of the Civil Society academic in South Africa, Northern
the Negev, ISRAEL Third Sector Researchers in departments Ireland and
(Israel) Israel Israel/Palestine, (2002) • Peace-Building &
Conflict Resolution

Network Institute for • Global Civil • Building Global • North-South • M.A. and Ph.D. • We, the Peoples of the
Global Democratization, Society Civil Society Dialogues on degrees in World Social Forum
Faculty of Humanities, • Democratization Democratizing academic (2002)
The Nottingham Trent and Global Globalization departments • Global Democracy
University, UK Governance • Network offices Initiatives: The Art of the
• Globalization in Finland, Peru, Possible (2002) • Global Taxation and UK. • Democracy and
and Redistribution • Founding Globalization: Promoting
(Tobin Tax member, a North-South Dialogue
Research & International (2002)
Campaign) Council of the • Democratising
• World Social World Social Globalisation: The
Forum Forum Leverage of the Tobin Tax

The Dante B. Fascell • Transnational • Democratic • Seminars and In- • M.A. and Ph.D. • Health Care Reform in
North-South Center, Civil Society Governance country training degrees in Central America:
University of Miami, • Government-NGO for practitioners academic NGO-Government
FL, USA Collaboration departments Collaboration in
• Sustainable Guatemala and El

24 Development Salvador (2003)
dex.html • Trade & Regional • Working Papers
• Transnational Civil
Society (Latin
• Transnational
Crime & Terrorism

School for International • Transnational • Civil Society • Diploma • Master degree in • Working Paper Series
Training (SIT), Civil Society Building & NGOs program for NGO Leadership &
Vermont, USA • Civil Society, practitioners Management
Business and • M.A. degrees in Government Conflict
y.html Collaboration Transformation;
• Learning and International
Organizational Education; Social
Change Justice in
• Peace & Conflict International
Transformation Relations;
• Sustainable Sustainable
Development Development;
• Transnational Civil Intercultural
Society Advocacy Service Leadership
& Management
• Masters of Science
in Organizational

Social Science Research • Transnational • Civil Society • International • M.A. and Ph.D. • The Journal of Social
Institute, International Civil Society Building Symposiums co- degrees in Science
Christian University, • Democratic sponsored with academic • Monograph Series
JAPAN Governance the Institute for departments
• Peace and Security the Study of • Sustainable Social Justice,
Development Sophia

TABLE 4: Leading Transnational Main Practitioner-Scholar Education, Teaching, Key Publications
Academic Centers in Civil Society Research Engagement & Training
the South Themes Areas
Centre for Civil • Transnational • Civil Society • Online forum for • M.A. and Ph.D. • Newsletter
Society, University of Civil Society Capacity-building African civil Degrees in
Natal, SOUTH • Democratic society issues academic
AFRICA Governance departments
• Globalization • Doctoral and Post- • Transnational doctoral
adds/ccs.htm Social Movements Fellowships

Centre for Applied • Transnational • Civil Society & • Human Rights • Degree programs • South African Journal on
Legal Studies Civil Society Legal Advocacy Training in the Law School Human Rights
(CALS), University (AIDS, gender, Seminars • Bulletin
of Witwatersrand, labor, land rights) • Public Interest
SOUTH AFRICA • Democratization & Litigation
Legal Reform • Human Rights

Institute for Urban & • Transnational • Civil Society • Anti-dams • M.A. and Ph.D. • Working Paper Series
Regional Research & Civil Society Capacity-building movement degrees in Urban
Planning, • Democratic • Civil Society and Regional
Federal University of Governance Seminars for Planning
Rio de Janeiro, • Global Economic World Social
BRAZIL Governance Forum
• Transnational Social Movements
m/home.htm • Urban Poverty &

Third World Studies • Global Civil • Civil Society & the • Asian Peace • International • Civil Society Making Civil
Center, University of Society Globalization Alliance Certificate Course Society (1997)
the Philippines, THE • Transnational Discourse • Democracy on Globalization • Democracy & Citizenship
PHILIPPINES Civil Society • Democratization Agenda Training Studies • State-Civil Society Relations
• Peace & Security • Policy Dialogues • M.A. and Ph.D. in Policy Making (1998) • People’s Power and Seminar degrees in
sc/ • Governance & Series academic

Organization of departments
Social Movements
• Transnational

TABLE 5: Leading Transnational Main Research Areas Program Areas and Leadership Key Publications
Think Tanks & Civil Society Activities Development &
Research Institutes Themes Training
Arias Foundation for • Transnational • Civil Society • Data Base of Central • Training • Directory of Civil Society
Peace and Human Civil Society Advocacy for American NGOs Sessions on Organizations in Central
Progress, San Jose, Social Change • Formation of a NGO America (1998)
COSTA RICA • Conflict Prevention Democratic Culture Advocacy • Reports & Working Papers
• Demilitarization & in Central America Strategies Human Security • Gender and
ice.htm • Democratic Development
Governance & Initiatives
Development • International Code of
• Gender & Conduct on Arms
Development Transfers
• Human Rights &

Institute for Policy • Transnational • Civil Society • Campaign for • Social Action • Alternatives to Economic
Studies (IPS), DC, Civil Society Advocacy Migrant Domestic & Leadership Globalization (2002)
USA • Democratic Workers Rights School for • Field Guide to the Global
Governance • Global Economy Activists Economy (2000) • Globalization Project focuses on (SALSA) • Reports & Newsletters
• Human Rights trade & corporations
• Peace & Security • Sustainable Energy &
• Sustainable Economy Network
Development &
• Trade &
• Transnational
Social Movements

Japan Center for • Global Civil • Civil Society • Global ThinkNet, an • Political • Corporate-NGO
International Society Capacity-Building international Exchange Partnership in Asia-Pacific
Exchange (JCIE), • Transnational & Advocacy collaborative network Programs (1999)
Tokyo, JAPAN Civil Society • Civil Society of independent policy among • Globalization, Governance,
Watch research institutions government and Civil Society (1998) • Democratization focused on global and and civil • Governance and Civil
• Global Governance regional policy society leaders Society in a Global Age
• Human Rights studies and forums (2001)
• Transnational • CivilNet focuses on • The Role of Non-State
Social Movements Civil Society Actors in International
Development in the Affairs
Asia Pacific • The Third Force: The Rise
• Civil Society Monitor of Transnational Civil
(Japan) Society (2000)
• International
Partnership at the
Grass-roots Level

Lokayan, Delhi, • Transnational • Civil Society • Anti-Dams • Dialogue • Lokayan Bulletin (journal)
INDIA Civil Society • Democratic Movement Meetings
Governance • Anti-Nuclear • Globalization Movement
• Human Rights • Civil Society
• Transnational Advocacy targeted
Social Movements toward Multilateral
Institutions (IMF,
World Bank, World
Commission on
Dams, WTO)

North-South Institute, • Transnational • Civil Society & • The Rise of • Conferences, • Canadian Development
Ottawa, CANADA Civil Society Multilateral Nongovernmental seminars, and Report (Annual)
Institutions Voices in Multilateral workshops • Civil Society Voices & the • Enhancing Gender Organizations IMF (2002)
Equality • Gender & Economic • Civil Society & Global
• Global Reform in Africa Change (1999)
Development • New International • We the Peoples: A Call to
Cooperation Architecture: Action for the UN

• Global Governance Reforming the Global Millennium Declaration
• Sustainable Economic System (2002)
Development • Review (newsletter)
• Transnational Civil
Society Advocacy

Transnational • Transnational • Civil Society • Alternative • Conferences, • Notes Toward a New
Institute, Geneva, Civil Society Advocacy Regionalisms seminars, and Politics:New Strategies for
SWITZERLAND • Democratization • Asia-Europe workshops People Power (2002)
• Energy, Food , Relations: • On-line • The Politics of Civil Society Agriculture, Democratization and network Building: European Private
Forestry & Water Human Rights newsletter Aid Agencies and
Policies • Drugs and Conflict Democratic Transitions in
• Globalization • Energy & Central America (1999)
• Global Economic Development • Transnational Alternativ@s
Governance • GATSWatch (Online journal)
• Human Rights • Migrant Workers • TNI Briefing Series
• Trade & Global Rights
Development • Advocacy targeted
• Transnational toward Multilateral
Corporations & Institutions (IMF,
International World Bank, WTO)
• Transnational
Social Movements

Third World Network, • Transnational • Civil Society • Biotechnology & • Seminars & • Globalisation and the Crisis
Penang, MALAYSIA Civil Society Advocacy Biodiversity Workshops of Sustainable Development
• Democratic • Environment • Action Alerts (2001) Governance • Global Financial and & Statements • Globalisation and the South
• Global Economic Economic Crisis • Position (2000)
Governance • Trade Rules and Papers • Third World Economics
• Global WTO (journal)
Environmental • Transnational • Third World Resurgence
Change Corporations (journal)
• Human Rights • Women’s Rights and • The WTO, the Post-Doha
• Sustainable Empowerment Agenda and the Future of
Development the Trade System (2002)

• Trade & Global
• Women’s

Social Watch, • Transnational • Civil Society • Gender Equity • Advocacy & • The Social Impact of
Montevideo, Civil Society Advocacy & • Monitoring of Health monitoring Globalisation in the World
URUGUAY Monitoring & Social Indicators strategies (2002)
• Globalization • Poverty Eradication • Strategies for • Social Indicators Database • Poverty • Social Welfare organizational & Country Reports
Eradication Policies development
& networking

TABLE 6: Leading Transnational Main Membership & Leadership Key Publications
Transnational Civil Society Research Networks Development &
Networks & INGOs Themes Areas Training Initiatives
The Advocacy • Transnational • Civil Society • An international • Advocacy • Advocacy for Social Justice:
Institute, Civil Society Capacity-building NGO that works to Strategies and A Global Action and
Washington, DC, • Democratic make social justice Training Reflection Guide (2001)
USA Governance leadership strategic, • Leadership for • Become a Leader for Social
• Human Rights effective, and Social Justice Justice (2001) • Tobacco Control sustainable in through Fellows
and Public Health • It works with partner Program
• Transnational NGOs and networks • Reflective
Social Movement in Africa, Asia, Practitioner and
Advocacy Eastern Europe, and Engaged
Latin America. Academics
Program with the

Asian NGO Coalition • Transnational • Civil Society • Regional association • Advocacy • NGO Strategic Management
for Agrarian Reform Civil Society Capacity-building of 20 national and Strategies for in Asia (1991)
and Rural • Democratic regional networks of Agrarian Reform • The NGO Campaign on the
Development Governance NGOs in 10 Asian • Participatory Asian Development Bank
(ANGOC), THE • Globalization countries. Processes for (1995)
PHILIPPINES • Food Security and • Its member networks Social Change • Lok Niti (newsletter)
Agrarian Reform reach an estimated • Rural & 3,000 NGOs in the
Sustainable Asian region.
• Transnational
Social Movements

CIVICUS: World • Global Civil • Civil Society • An international • Civil Society • Practice-Research
Alliance for Citizen Society Capacity-Building alliance of 507 Index Engagement & Civil Society
Participation, & Advocacy citizen organizations, • Civil Society (2001)
Southdale, SOUTH • Civil Society 36 donor Watch • Civil Society at the
AFRICA Watch organizations, and 61 • Strategies for Millennium (2000)
• Democratization individual associates Successful • Promoting Corporate that convenes the

• Global Governance CIVICUS World Communications Citizenship: Opportunities
• Human Rights Assembly every two for Business & Civil Society
• Transnational years. Engagement
Social Movements • CITIZENS: Strengthening
Global Civil Society (1994)
Focus on the Global • Transnational • Civil Society • A research network • Civil society • The Future in the Balance:
South, Bangkok, Civil Society Capacity-building of advocacy organizing & Essay on Globalization and
THAILAND • Democratic organizations, agenda-setting Resistance (2001)
Governance researchers, and for the World • Research and Policy Papers • Global Economic scholars in the South Social Forum • Bulletin
Governance &
• Regional & Human
• Sustainable
• Trade & Regional
• Transnational
Social Movements
International Forum • Global Civil • Civil Society • An alliance of 60 • Public Forums • Alternatives to
on Globalization, San Society Advocacy leading activists, on Alternative Globalization (2002)
Francisco, CA, USA • Democratization scholars, economists, Policy Agenda to • VIEWS FROM THE
• Food , Agriculture, researchers and Economic SOUTH: The Effects of Forestry & Water writers formed to Globalization Globalization and the WTO
Policies stimulate new • Advocacy on Third World Countries
• Globalization thinking, joint Campaigns
• Global Economic activity, and public focused on the
Governance education in response International
• Trade & Global to economic Financial
Development globalization. Institutions
• Transnational • IFG represents over
Corporations & 60 organizations in
International 25 countries
Financial • IFG has established
Institutions 9 research projects
• Transnational and committees on
Social Movements various aspects of

Society for • Transnational • Civil Society • An international • Participatory • Civil Society & Governance
Participatory Civil Society Capacity-Building center & network training • Participatory Research:
Research in Asia • Democratic for participatory programs for Revisiting the Roots
(PRIA), New Delhi, Governance and democratic strengthening • Reviving Democracy (2002)
INDIA • Participatory empowerment civil society • PRIA News (Newsletter)
Action Research • PRIA has formed a leadership • Rural & network of regional • Citizen advocacy
Sustainable support & monitoring
Development organizations • Women’s
• Women’s called the Network empowerment
Empowerment of Collaborating
Regional Support

Social Watch, • Transnational • Civil Society • An international • Advocacy & • The Social Impact of
Montevideo, Civil Society Advocacy & network of 200 monitoring Globalisation in the World
URUGUAY Monitoring leading citizens strategies (2002)
• Globalization organizations • Strategies for • Social Indicators Database & • Poverty dedicated to organizational Country Reports
Eradication eradicating poverty development &
• Social Policies networking

This research was supported by the Democracy Collaborative at the University of
Maryland. A previous version of this study was presented at the Workshop on “Research
without (Southern) Borders: New Directions for South-North Research Collaborations,”
Institute for Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London,
February 7-8, 2003. I am grateful to Professor Timothy Shaw and workshop participants
for helpful comments.


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