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Transnational Association Networks (TANs)

Selected list of research topics on international nongovernmental organization (Part #1)

Previously printed in International Associations, 1972, pp. 481-465 [PDF version]

In a further effort to stimulate academic study of 'international nongovernmental nonprofit organizations', it seemed useful to bring together into one list many of the areas which have not been researched or which merit further attention (for an earlier effort at listing study topics in this domain see, G P. Speeckaert, 1960). This is done below. It is hoped, that even if the topics selected do not cover the major areas of interest, they will at least serve to highlight any lacunae. Comments would be welcomed.

As a complement to this initiative, the authors have prepared a bibliography of about 1000 articles and documents which represent as much of the literature that could be located in the time available (Judge and Skjeslbaek, 1972).

The term 'transnational association networks', was chosen in order to provoke comment on the adequacy of the current term 'international nongovernmental organization'. 'International' is not applicable to many INGOs; and the current increasing use of 'transnational' seems more appropriate. 'Association" is used because international 'organization', in the literature and in practice, is nearly always associated implicitly with IGOs.

'Networks' is added in the plural because most bodies are embedded in several inter-organizational networks -- this is usually ignored and INGOs are analyzed as isolated entities. The properties of the network and the nature of an organization's involvement in it, may be more significant than that of the sum of the 'isolated' entities or an aggregation of their transactions.

'Nongovernmental' is dropped because there are many mixed, 'intersect', organizations particularly in the developing and socialist countries -- also in some cultures 'non-' may mean something very close to "anti-". To define "X" as "nongovernmental" is a plain confession of inability to conceptuaIize" "X" and in practice means that "X" can only be conceived of in relation to government -- and, in practice, as the "hand-maiden", of government. For this reason, at the national level, terms with a positive connotation are mainly used as appropriate (e.g. "voluntary", "professional", etc.)

1. Political and General Aspects

1.1. Changing aims and programmes of international associations consequent upon the evolution of world problems and the setting up of other international bodies, governmental and nongovernmental.

1.2 The work of transnational associations as an element in mitigating or exacerbating members' intransigence in the unilateral defense of their own sectional interests.

1.3. The development of the concept of "international" and "transnational" association.

1.4. The part played by transnational associations in the establishment of intergovernmental bodies.

1.5 The degree to which transnational associations can reflect public opinion.

1.6. Reasons why transnational associations may be unsuccessful in attaining their objectives.

1.7. The effective powers given to organs in transnational associations.

1.8. Voting systems within transnational associations.

1.9. Role of association networks in the democratic process.

1.10. Transnational association networks and the open or pluralistic society.

1.11 Transnational association networks and the integration of the world system.

1.12. TANs and issue formulation in the democratic process.

1.13. TANs and the generation of political will.

1.14. TANs as an underdeveloped "Third World" of the social system from which political will and support is extracted for the governmental and economic sectors.

1.15. TANs, feudal systems, and the structural theory of revolution.

1.16. Contribution of TANs to the adoption of intergovernmental conventions.


1.16. Contribution of TANs to the adoption of intergovernmental conventions.

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