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Explaining participation in regional transnational social movement organizations

Wiest, D and Smith, J (2007) Explaining participation in regional transnational social movement organizations. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 48 (2-3). 137 - 166. ISSN 0020-7152

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Since the late 1980s, governments have focused intensely on formalizing political and economic relationships within regions. There has also been a concurrent rise in transnational, regional level organizing among social movement activists globally, suggesting the regionalization of 'global civil society.' However, opportunities for participation in transnational associations vary widely across countries. In this article, we examine the influence of international (both global and regional) institutional contexts, citizen participation in international society, and national level factors on varying levels of participation in regional transnational social movement organizations (TSMOs). We use negative binomial regression to examine relationships among these factors at three time points: 1980, 1990, and 2000. We find that in the early time period, citizen network connections to international society facilitated the formation of and participation in regionally organized TSMOs. Over time, however, regional and global institutional contexts were more predictive of participation in regional TSMOs than were international network ties. Our analysis also uncovered how qualitatively different forms of regionalism translated into significantly different levels of TSMO regionalization. In Europe, where the regional institutional structure is more elaborated than elsewhere in the world, the number of regional TSMOs in which citizens participated greatly outpaced that found elsewhere. Irrespective of international, institutional factors, however, state-level features remained crucial to explaining the development of regional TSMO sectors and the variable levels of participation in them. Citizens in states with restrictions on political rights and civil liberties had significantly lower participation in these organizations in 1990 and 2000. Even so, over time, citizens in states with more ties to global and regional multilateral processes found more ways to overcome this disadvantage and strengthen their participation in regional, transnational civil society. © 2007 SAGE Publications.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wiest, D
Smith, Jjgsmith@pitt.eduJGSMITH0000-0002-4808-0391
Date: 1 April 2007
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Comparative Sociology
Volume: 48
Number: 2-3
Page Range: 137 - 166
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1177/0020715207075398
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0020-7152
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 22:19
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2019 16:55


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