This article takes stock of a plethora of recent works examining the flowering of transnational civil society activism in world politics. The author argues that this work contributes to a progressive research agenda that responds to a succession of criticisms from alternative perspectives. As the research program has advanced, new areas of inquiry have been opened up, including the need for a central place for normative international theory. The author also contends that the focus of this research on the transnationalization of civil society provides a trenchant response to an important puzzle concerning the leverage of civil society vis-à-vis the contemporary state in an era of globalization. Further, the liberal variant of transnational advocacy research constitutes a powerful theoretical counter not only to other nonliberal theories that privilege other agents or structures but also to other varieties of contemporary liberal international theory, such as those privileging preexisting domestic preference formation or state centric versions of liberal constructivism.
Richard Price is an associate professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Chemical Weapons Taboo (1997) and coeditor of The United Nations and Global Security (forthcoming). He has written numerous articles on the origins and impact of international norms and constructivist international relations theory.
* The author thanks Christian Reus-Smit, Lisa Mclntosh Sundstrom, Katherine Morton, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.