Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms

By Sanjeev Khagram; James V. Riker et al. | Go to book overview

7
Agendas, Accountability, and Legitimacy among
Transnational Networks Lobbying the World Bank
Paul J. Nelson

The World Bank has been dragged into the world of participatory–publicinterest politics and may never be the same.

—Bruce Stokes, National Journal

Within the institution the U.S. non-governmental organizations are taken too seriously.

—Evelyn Herfkens, executive director to the World Bank

Scholars and practitioners interested in the expanding role of nonstate actors, including NGOs, have labored to demonstrate their relevance to governmental policy processes and to catalog the variety of methods NGOs use to influence governmental and corporate behavior (Keck and Sikkink 1998; Sikkink 1993a; Wapner 1995; Clark 1991; Florini 2000).

But with NGOs' place as political actors, often through transnational advocacy networks, becoming established, scholars and practitioners are raising issues about the networks' accountability and efficacy. Hulme and Edwards (1997), for example, explore these issues specifically regarding NGOs concerned with development, while Nelson (1996a), Fox and Brown (1998), and Jordan and Van Tuijl (2000) focus on transnational networks and the World Bank. Görg and Hirsch (1998) pose profound theoretical concerns about whether NGO participation in intergovernmental decision making should be thought of as a democratic gain. They emphasize the importance of relationships between NGOs operating internationally and the social movements and NGOs working at the national level. This paper pursues these themes by

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