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Global Civil Society?: Transnational Social Movement Organizations and Social Capital

Smith, J (1998) Global Civil Society?: Transnational Social Movement Organizations and Social Capital. American Behavioral Scientist, 42 (1). 93 - 107. ISSN 0002-7642

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The growth of international political and economic institutions has both facilitated and demanded cooperation among social change activists from different countries, contributing to the rapid expansion of transnationally organized social movements. But to what extent do these increasingly visible movements manifest a “global civil society”? Do transnational social movement organizations (TSMOs) help cultivate the social capital relevant to a politically engaged global civil society? Building on Minkoff's analysis of national SMOs, this article argues that TSMOs contribute to the formation of social capital that is relevant to the global political order, even if these organizations do not generate routine, face-to-face contact among members. They do so by providing an infrastructure that facilitates transnational communication and action, by cultivating transnational identities, and by developing a global public discourse. This analysis of the role of social movements in the global polity relates to more general debates on civil society and democracy. © 1998, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Smith, Jjgsmith@pitt.eduJGSMITH0000-0002-4808-0391
Date: 1 January 1998
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: American Behavioral Scientist
Volume: 42
Number: 1
Page Range: 93 - 107
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1177/0002764298042001008
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0002-7642
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 22:02
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2019 16:55


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