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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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


The 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 transnationalisation of SMOs is, 2) what types of transnational strategies SMOs employ, and 3) what explains these strategies. First, although a number of studies on transnational social movements have been published, systematic evidence on transnationalisation remains limited. This especially concerns the new members of the EU. Therefore, the first goal of this paper is to analyze the whole population of SMOs and their level of transnationalisation in one country, the Czech Republic. Second, the issue of the types of strategies SMOs perform transnationally remains open. Employing principal component analysis, we differentiate among three types of transnational activities: lobbying, protest, and public persuasion. Third, the paper asks why organisations select the observed transnational strategies. Drawing on resource mobilization theory, the paper focuses on the effect the EU has had on Czech SMOs. Did it contribute to their de-radicalization and cooptation by the political elite, or did it instead empower them to engage in transnational politics? While according to the cooptation hypothesis EU funding contributed to the de-radicalization of SMOs, the empowerment thesis argues that EU money in fact enabled local organizations to engage in transnational activity, protest included. The results of our analysis tend to support the empowerment hypothesis.

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