Chapter_9_11_Reading_Notes

Chapter_9_11_Reading_Notes - Govt 131 Reading Summary for...

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Govt 131 4/30/08 Reading Summary for 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 11.1 9.1 Globalization, toward the end of the twentieth century, has led to the creation of certain international organizations comprised of activists whose actions are motivated by principles or values. These organizations, known as transnational advocacy networks (or TANS), are influential on both the international and local levels. Often, TANs are headed by small groups of activists whose “kinds of pressure and agenda politics…rarely involve mass mobilization, except at key moments.” The goal of these organizations is mainly centered on finding the right place and setting the right conditions so that the peoples of the project area will have a specific reaction to the prompts of the TAN and exact change themselves, without direct involvement form the TAN. These TANs seek to influence public policy in a number of ways, including: information politics, symbolic politics, leverage politics, and accountability politics. Any number of these methods may be employed at a time for each specific incident in any combination. The first of these methods, information politics, constitutes the supply of information to people who otherwise would have never received it, from sources previously not heard from. The gathering and dispersal of information regarding specific environmental and human rights topics is key for the networks ability to influence government policy. In order to obtain full
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effectiveness, information must be gathered, backed by credible sources, released in the right place at the right time, and reach the right people. To obtain success in terms of information politics, networks must successfully be able to cooperate and use the media, as it is an essential part of this method. The method of symbolic politics is characterized by the use of an event as a symbol of an issue or cause, bring it to light. Many times single events are not influential enough to exact change and mobilize people. A series of similar events in a short span of time usually proves more effective than any one lone event. Leverage politics can be defined as the networks ability to pressure or persuade politically influential bodies such as NGOs. This method, in addition to gaining political allies, also depends on “their ability to mobilize their own members and affect public opinion via the media.” This ability to influence the masses relies on the fact that governments like having a good public image, making them feel obligated to live up to international standards. Finally, accountability politics seeks to make sure that governments live up to their claims (i.e. insuring that governments who claim to be in favor of human rights actually take action in promoting human rights).
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