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Building Transnational Networks
Civil Society and the Politics of Trade in the Americas

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics

  • Date Published: September 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521191562

$ 93.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Building Transnational Networks tells the story of how a broad group of civil society organizations came together to contest free trade negotiations in the Americas. Based on research in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, the United States, and Canada, it offers a full hemispheric analysis of the creation of civil society networks as they engaged in the politics of trade. The author demonstrates that most effective transnational actors are the ones with strong domestic roots and that “southern” organizations occupy key nodes in trade networks. The fragility of activist networks stems from changes in the domestic political context as well as from characteristics of the organizations, the networks, or the actions they undertake. These findings advance and suggest new understandings of transnational collective action.

    • Presents original quantitative and qualitative data on how transnational networks are created and develop across three countries
    • Presents a longer-term approach than most studies of transnationalism
    • One of the few studies that is able to present a Southern as well as Northern view of challenges presented by globalization
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2012 Luciano Tomassini International Relations Book Award, Latin American Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Von Bülow has masterfully integrated network-analytic techniques with qualitative interviews to chart the historical coalescence and dissolution of transnational ties among social movement organizations contesting free trade negotiations in the Americas. Resisting the current tendency toward triumphalism about 'global civil society', she pays nuanced attention to ambiguities, asymmetries, tensions, and fragilities in an emerging transnational field. This innovative and compelling study contributes not only to our understanding of transnational coalition building, but also to a dynamic theory of social networks that is attentive to agency and meaning-making as a constitutive dimension of social ties."
    Ann Mische, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

    "This is a breakthrough book in the study of transnational activism. Building Transnational Networks offers an imaginative, empirically rich, and accessible actor-centered account of the conditions under which heterogeneous, multi-sector civil society organizations form broad-based coalitions to challenge neoliberal globalization. Marisa von Bülow's interdisciplinary analysis of this critical issue for movement power dissolves the artificial boundary between the domestic and international scales and brings into sharp holistic focus what all too often has been a partial, fragmented picture of transnational activism. It is indispensable reading for anyone interested in transnational collective action."
    Eduardo Silva, Lydian Professor of Political Science, Tulane University

    "Building Transnational Networks makes a significant and original contribution to the rapidly growing literature on transnational activism and transnational contentious politics. Marisa von Bülow's work will be 'controversial' in the best sense and will establish new benchmarks for future research by students of transnational collective action in political science and sociology."
    William C. Smith, University of Miami, and editor, Latin American Politics and Society

    "Marisa von Bülow has written the ideal successor to Keck and Sikkink's foundational Activists Beyond Borders. She starts from the idea of 'transnational networks' but lodges these networks in their national settings in four countries in the Americas engaged in trade politics, and she carries out a masterful comparison of how their domestic structures condition their effectiveness and their durability. Latin Americanists, comparativists, and students of transnational politics will all want to read this book."
    Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521191562
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Civil Society Organizations and their Pathways to Transnationality:
    1. Introduction
    2. Multiple pathways to transnationality
    Part II. The Politicization of Trade:
    3. The contentious nature of trade debates
    4. New regionalism in the Americas
    Part III. The Dynamics of Networks:
    5. Trade protest networks
    6. The origins and dynamics of trade challengers' networks
    Part IV. Organizational Pathways to Transnationality:
    7. The creation and demise of transnational coalitions
    8. Diffusion and differentiation of national coalitions
    Part V. The Search for Ideational Pathways:
    9. Alternatives for the Americas
    10. Transnational collective action in dynamic political contexts
    11. Conclusions: agency, networks, and collective action
    Appendix A: lists of interviews
    Appendix B: social network questionnaire (United States).

  • Author

    Marisa von Bülow, Universidade de Brasília
    Marisa von Bülow is currently Professor of Political Science at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. She has published many works on transnational collective action and social movements. Professor von Bülow has done research throughout the Americas, including in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.


    • Winner of the 2012 Luciano Tomassini International Relations Book Award, Latin American Studies Association

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