9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN25 Social Movements

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Women and Activism Building I, 1E5

Women's Transnational Networks

The emergence and diffusion of transnational networks working with a gender perspective is a relatively new phenomenon characterizing the last three decades with growing interest in gender studies, politica science and sociology of social movements. "Transnational networks/organization" is a working definition: an umbrella term referring to organized advocacy groups that undertake voluntary collective action across state borders in pursuit of what they believe to be the wider public interest. (Keck & Sikkink, 1998; Snow et al. 1986, Tarrow 2001). A transnational dimension seems thus to be more fit to negotiate women's different conditions and interests - compared to traditional ones, whose actions remain limited to national arenas. Transnational networks facilitate the creation of policy expertise among activists, through the exchange of information and knowledge across borders, and relations with experts, and policy makers, in a milieu characterised by co-presence of insiders and outsiders sharing an interest in creating "global expertise". The main hypothesis is that the proliferation of newcomer organizations dilutes the traditional role of grass-roots groups and challenges their monopoly on the "production" and the praxis of gendered issues. Moreover, transnational organizations contribute in creating a global arena in which gender-related organizations become progressively professionalized and expert social networks. Is it possible to identify an optimum degree of closeness/distance from institutions to allow the organizations to reach their goals without the risk of being co-opted? How equal are the relationships between Northern and Southern members or within networks and coalitions? The aim of the research is to deal with such questions - focusing on transnational organizations' missions, activities and strategies - through carrying out exploratory research of women's/feminist transnational movements, in order to present the results of a quantitative survey, and the outcomes of a qualitative investigation.