Project Project
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Hybrid transnational networks - Potential for society’s mobilization and self-organization

Brigitte Geissel
2004 - 2005

“Governance through networks of non-governmental actors” has been a main topic in scientific and political debates for years. Networks of civil society and market actors raise hope for the solution of local, national and transnational problems that are neglected or cannot be solved by the state itself, for example sustainable farming and production or matters of justice in world trade. The problem solving capacity of these networks presumably can be optimized by transnationalization (i.e., “best practice” processes in the context of NGO-regimes). Factors for success or failure – measurable through territorial expansion for example, market share or total revenue – are analyzed only marginally. This issue will be evaluated empirically based on four case studies of transnational hybrid networks. All four case studies developed and implemented internationally accepted systems of certification in various fields: The Forest Stewardship Council, The Marine Stewardship Council, Fair Trade/Trans Fair, and ISO 14001.

Research Focus
What is the secret for success of the flourishing networks and what is the secret for failure of the less successful networks? Do the networks flourish in the “shade of market constraints”? Which role does the purchasing pattern of consumers and political consumerism play? Do transnational hybrid networks work particularly well when the state exerts pressure?

Research Methods
Interviews with experts (face-to-face and by telephone), analyses of respective materials