Keck and Sikking- Transnational Advocacy Networks

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

Keck and Sikking: Transnational Advocacy Networks At the end of the 20th century, there has been more and more communication amongst non state actors. Some involve economic actors and firms who share common ideas in trying to persuade changes in international policy. You also have transitional advocacy networks (actors working together on an issue that have shared interests) and take part in the exchange of information. They build new links and multiply the channels of access in the international system, this includes environmental issues, human rights issues and make resources for dealing with these problems available to actors experiencing domestic problems. The goal of transnational advocacy groups is to change the behaviour of states and international organizations. They frame issues and make them available to target audiences as well as attracting attention. They are also involved in many policy debates bringing new norms and policy changes to the table. The networks they set up are very communicative, they influence discourse and procedures and policy while activists become part of the larger policy communities that group actors who are working on common issues. Actors can then negotiate the terms of the political meanings of their joint enterprises. Examples of advocacy Networks: 1) NGO’s that do research and advocacy organizations 2) Local Social Movement 3) Foundations 4) The media 5) Churches, trade unions, firms and intellectuals 6) International intergovernmental organizations 7) Executive and legislative and parliamentary branches of government NGO'S influence actors and put pressure on actors and bring a lot of new ideas to the table. Groups in these networks share information and often share common values. It is very hard to measure how many functioning NGO'S actually exist, but we know the amount has increased over the years. Different NGO'S focus on different issues, for example we know today that there is five times more NGO's working on human rights than there were in the 1950's. However proportionately human rights group make up only a slight fraction of the NGO's all together. What we see that has increased the most dramatically in all relevant terms are the transnational environmental groups. Transnational groups seek power in similar ways to political parties and social groups. They use the power of their information, ideas and strategies to alter the information and value contexts within which states make policies. They use persuasion and socialization to force actors into buying in to what they offer. Different methods of persuasion used: 1) Information politics 2) Symbolic politics: the ability to call upon symbols, actions or stories that make sense of a situation for an audience that is frequently far away. 3) Leverage Politics: Calling upon strong actors to try and control a situation that weaker and smaller powers cant get their hands on. 4) Accountability Policies: the effort to hold powerful actors to their previously stated policies or principles. Network members actively seek ways to bring issues to the public agenda by framing them in innovative ways and seeking hospitable venues. For example in the 1980's these groups paid a lot of attention on the plight of human rights in south African countries and all the sudden after
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