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Networking strategies in transnational environmental activism

Coleman, Anna (2021) Networking strategies in transnational environmental activism. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Since the early years of environmental activism, transnationally organized social movements have been crucial to advancing climate action within international politics. Transnational social movement organizations (TSMOs) have developed robust, diverse strategies for achieving change, including but not limited to engagement with international governance organizations (IGOs). Historically, IGOs have tended to support market based, incremental carbon reductions, as opposed to more radical climate solutions that address the connection between global capitalism and the climate crisis. My research seeks to understand if TSMOs critical of the current political order are able to advance radical climate action within these historically reformist institutions. Drawing from updated data on the engagement of environmental social movements, I find that geographic location and the age of TSMOs continue to influence how much they engage with IGOs. However, I suggest that ideological alignment cannot fully explain the differences between pragmatic engagement and rejectionism. Rather among TSMOs critical of international environmental politics, the decision to engage with a given IGO is likely based upon the opportunities offered in the relationship and the usefulness of such opportunities. From this, I then analyze the specific opportunities that IGOs, reported by environmental TSMOs, provide and categorize these opportunities as influence or access. I argue that access opportunities, such as networking, that allow TSMOs to develop their movements, empower TSMOs to be in a better position to demand influence within international governance. I then suggest that spaces in which TSMOs are involved in designing how they participate have more potential to advance radical solutions. TSMOs are then able to operate as decision makers instead of actors trying to influence decision makers. Importantly, the affiliation and primary aim of IGOs influences what type of opportunities they provide such that we see developing collaboration among large UN affiliated IGOs, that could be suggestive of how international governance may come to support radical climate action.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Coleman, Annaatc50@pitt.eduatc50
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmith, Jackiejgsmith@pitt.edujgsmith
Committee CoChairGoodhart, Michaelgoodhart@pitt.edugoodhart
Committee ChairAlfredson, LisaLSA@pitt.eduLSA
Committee ChairHadden,
Date: 23 April 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 April 2021
Approval Date: 23 April 2021
Submission Date: 19 April 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 67
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: counterhegmonic change, climate action, global justice
Additional Information: Bachelor of Philosophy for International Area Dual Degree Concentration in Global Studies
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2021 13:44
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2021 13:44

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