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"Forgotten" Directions in the Study of Transnational Networks


The articles of this core present a number of innovative studies on transnational networks. Mainstream transnational network research has suffered from a number of theoretical biases which have prevented comprehensive study of the wide range of transnational activism of civil society organisations (CSOs). These biases concern, in particular, the notion of the ‘civilness’ of CSOs, their Western origin, their bourgeois nature, and their centre-left political orientation in terms of views on global politics.
These biases do not come as a surprise. To some extent, they simply mirror our transnational socio-political reality. Nonetheless, this tendency is not only scientifically and politically limited but, indeed, flawed. In fact, it not only mirrors our world, but also replicates and multiplies it. As a consequence, other actors that may be relevant tend to be marginalised or ostracised. Ultimately, this is not of service to either the scientific ambitions of social sciences or the practical needs of policy analysis and policymaking. Both endeavours need a fair and comprehensive account of the phenomenon of transnational networking. A sound political assessment, in fact, can only be made after such a comprehensive account has been given. In this vein, the set of articles presented in this core aims to contribute to a more inclusive representation of transnational networking and, in this way, of global politics more generally.