Politics Beyond the State:
Environmental Activism and
World Civic Politics
Interest in transnational activist groups such as Greenpeace, European Nuclear Disarmament (END), and Amnesty International has been surging. . . . This work is important, especially insofar as it establishes the increasing influence of transnational nongovernmental organizations ( NGOs) on states. Nonetheless, for all its insight, it misses a different but related dimension of activist work--the attempt by activists to shape public affairs by working within and across societies themselves.
Recent studies neglect the societal dimension of activists' efforts in part because they subscribe to a narrow understanding of politics. They see politics as a practice associated solely with government and thus understand activist efforts exclusively in terms of their influence upon government. Seen from this perspective, transnational activists are solely global pressure groups seeking to change states' policies or create conditions in the international system that enhance or diminish interstate cooperation. Other efforts directed toward societies at large are ignored or devalued because they are not considered to be genuinely political in character. . . .____________________