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From Principle to Pragmatism: The Motivational Life Cycle of Transnational Activism

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:15pm - 2:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building, Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room 1219
Please join the Harriman Institute for a Harriman Working Papers Seminar with Tsveta Petrova, Visiting Scholar and Post-Doctoral Fellow 2011-2012, Harriman Institute). Why is it that some NGOs choose to invest in overcoming the significant costs of working transnationally? Some previous works portray these groups as normatively motivated actors, guided by solidarity with activists abroad. Others describe those NGOs as pragmatic actors, chasing funding and valuing survival over their mission. This paper develops and tests a theory of the motivations of NGOs for participating in transnational activism, proposing that these motivations change over time and follow a cycle from principled to pragmatic. The argument is that transnational activism emerges around a core of solidarity-motivated actors, but over time pragmatic considerations, such as obtaining resources and legitimacy, become a leading motivation for some of the latest NGO recruits and projects of the movement. Thus, while both principled and pragmatic motivations drive transnational activism, the overall importance of these two types of motivation to individual NGOs and to each transnational movement changes over time.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.
Categories: Academic, seminar