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Transnational Strategies and their Determinants: Czech Social Movement Organizations Acting Abroad

Ondřej Císař
Charles University
Ondřej Císař
Charles University
Katerina Vrablikova
Masaryk University
Open Panel

Abstract

Transnational political activism has recently dwarfed its nationally-bound counterpart in terms of research attention. This paper focuses on social movement organizations (SMOs) in one country in order to explore the level of their transnational activism, and account for their transnational strategies. The paper shows 1) what the level of transnationalization of SMOs is, 2) what types of transnational strategies SMOs employ, and 3) what explains the observed strategies. First, although a number of studies on transnational social movements have been published, systematic evidence on transnationalization remains limited. Mostly, case studies of specific transnationalized organizations, activist sectors, and international campaigns are available. Therefore, the first goal of this paper is to analyze the whole population of SMOs and their level of transnationalization in one country, the Czech Republic. Second, the question regarding types of strategies SMOs perform transnationally remains open. According to the replacement thesis, international/European institutions’ configuration discourages political activists from using contentious strategies in favor of more conventional ones such as lobbying. According to the opposite congruence thesis, non-state actors tend to rely internationally on the same strategies they are used to at the national level. We intend to explore the opposite expectations of these two theses in our analysis. Third, the paper asks why organizations perform specific types of transnational strategies. It tests the main social movement theories explaining transnational activism, such as the scope of grievances and national rootedness, against data coming from an organizational survey of social movement organizations (Czech SMOs Survey, 150 organizations, 2007–2008).