Globalization processes have had a great impact on national ideas and citizenship. Put another way, those propositions of a normative kind that invoke the non-state, be they with regard to global citizenship, conflict and peace studies, or the promotion of human rights, and have to be accompanied by some persuasive argument as to what the real-world conditions for the realization of such goals may be.

Too often normative speculation, be it about NGOs or European integration, or the possibilities of resisting inter-ethnic violence, as in earlier times ‘proletarian internationalism’, have run ahead of the historical and contemporary record[1].

Traditionally, it was supposed that European integration proposed great opportunities for European nations and the global community. The essential political objective of the Treaty had been spelled out in its preamble: to achieve ‘an ever closer union among the European peoples.’

The confusion and limitations of the approach became apparent when the Constitution was rejected by France and the Netherlands, and European nations refused to join the Unified Constitution.

Thesis

Globalization processes have a great impact on the unification of citizenship and redoing the role of nation-citizens in Europe.

“A ‘civil society’ exists when individuals and groups are free to form organizations that function independently of the state, and that can mediate between citizens and the state.

Because the lack of civil society was part of the very essence of the all-pervasive communist state, creating such a society and supporting organizations independent of the state—or NGOs—have been seen by donors as the connective tissue of democratic political culture—an intrinsically positive objective”[2].

Still, the overarching concept of the political union remains undefined, sufficiently vague to be acceptable to all the member states without presenting a threat to any. The challenge is that the EC persists with the notion of political unity[3].

On the international stage, the EC steadily grows in stature as an important actor both in terms of its formal relationships with other states and through EPC, both activities benefiting greatly from the involvement in this aspect of EC affairs of the national government leaders through the European Council. Progress in terms of the political unification of the EC is to be more hesitant, if not almost non-existent[4].

The role of civil society in a democratic state is to control authority relations and delegation of power. “The extension of citizenship in the modern world is based on the notion that individuals have sacrosanct rights. But this universalism is deeply prejudicial to the maintenance of trust and sociability in the realms where individuals interact”[5]

The main problem is that EU citizenship and values confront national ideologies and self-identification. The strategies and goals of integration are developed by the EU Committees, but they do not reflect the goals and needs of the nation-stats. Political cooperation is something that has constantly been urged upon the Community since its creation.

Insofar as the EC has involved a continuing relationship between several national governments, it has achieved a not insignificant degree of political cooperation. The EC’s formal relationships with other countries or groups of countries had not progressed much during the last decade.

The reformed EU would have an independent ability to raise revenue and would share powers over the adoption of the budget with the Council. The problem is that European enlargement is not supported by the nation-states and could be opposed by European nations. “In the societies of Europe, many discussions take place which is related to questions about changing values and norms and changing behavior patterns”[6].

Western European society differs greatly from its Eastern neighbors representing a democratic and self-structured community. In this case, establishing the market would entail the removal of all those barriers and factors which inhibited free movement.

Thus, the challenge of integration is that nation-states are against enlargement outside the EC. “Eastern societies do not accept that the new élites have a monopoly of the moral high ground, since there is little evidence in either eastern or western countries that the laissez-faire prescriptions of those who equate the rhetoric of ‘natural development’ with that of ‘market economy’ can enable the majority of citizens to realize Havel’s romantic and Utopian ideals”[7].

Externally, the single market is meant to strengthen EC competitiveness in world markets, especially against the United States and Japan. But it can weaken the internal market and lead to an economic crisis that affected the EU member states[8].

Citizenship institutions and policy institutes are often viewed as vehicles to encourage civil society development – often in cooperation with the corporate sector and third-sector groups such as NGOs. Citizenship institutions attract funding and support from foundations and aid agencies as organizations to build social capital, to generate human capital and bolster the political infrastructure of ‘free’ societies.

In weak states or fractured societies, they can sometimes have a pivotal role in rebuilding social and political institutions and helping to build dialogue and debate between conflicting groups. The ‘global citizenship label does not mean that all such bodies conform to Western preconceptions of an intellectually autonomous organization that exists independently of government.

Many institutes in the developing world and in transition states were founded by the government, are part of the bureaucratic apparatus, or are dependent on state funding.

Many other institutes that may have been independently founded function in political cultures where censorship, conformity, and control prevail, limiting engagement with social groups and the articulation of a broad range of interests. Such institutes have tenuous links to civil society and reflect the inequities and power hierarchies in their societies and political systems[9].

Civil society, from this perspective, is in the service of the economy; families, associations, networks, and cultural arrangements help create trust, credibility, and literate consumers and workers. Political values of participation and citizenship are lost from the equation, as is the central political concept that civil society is an autonomous sphere of social activity.

Under such constraints, citizenship may help to build social capital, but they may not enhance or strengthen an autonomous civil society. Many NGOs and other associations may, therefore, view the ‘research community’ negatively: as part of the elite, exclusive, and insubstantial connections to civil society[10].

As discussed earlier in relation to the UN, citizenship institutions are implicitly placed in the role of ‘gate-keepers’ to the UN or other international organizations, potentially becoming a barrier between NGOs seeking more direct access to UN personnel and procedures.

Global networks may thus play two alternative civic roles. On the one hand, they may operate as a source of alternative policy advice, articulating diverse points of view and contributing to a plurality of political thought, so acting as powerful instruments for democratization.

In Belarus, for example, independent institutions have challenged political orthodoxy and oppressive state controls on public debate[11]. On the other hand, these organizations can also be tools for authoritarian or quasi-liberal regimes.

There are often positive incentives (job security, career advancement, and access to centers of power) as well as negative incentives (legal controls, censorship) that channel individual and organizational behavior towards producing ideas and arguments that are supportive of prevailing power structures.

Citizenship institutions can operate as sophisticated propaganda machines to legitimize the ruling ideas and policy paradigms of incumbent governments[12].

From a liberal point of view, it can be easy to overstate the importance of citizenship in global policy processes. Citizenship issues are merely one actor in a sea of information among a vast range of non-state actors that also seek some influence or input to these new dynamics of decision-making and policy development[13].

Whilst some of these organizations have links to the policy formation processes and have some kind of presence in the broader social-political system, their power or influence is limited, dependent, and fluctuating. It may be less the case that citizenship has an impact on government and international organizations, and more that they are used by these organizations as tools to pursue their own interests in regional and global forums.

Governments and international organizations also encourage the role that a number of Citizenship plays in second-track diplomacy, where an institute will act as an intermediary between conflicting groups.

As non-state actors they represent the neutral territory and can convene ‘independent dialogues’ or closed seminars, which official representatives attend under the façade of acting in a private capacity. However, those institutes called to play this kind of role tend to be elite, mainstream bodies, trusted within government[14].

Citizenship institutions appear to have a visible and sometimes independent impact in periods of critical transition. At the domestic level, such transitions may occur through electoral change and democratization as well as through changing policy. Citizenship expertise appears indispensable to journalists in times of international crisis such as the recent history of Kosovo, in providing expert commentary for the media.

In regional and global domains, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, the re-emergence of old ethnic hostilities generated new intellectual spaces for policy thinking. In more stable circumstances, policy innovation and impact remain available through processes such as policy transfer and developing routes of bureaucratic and political access.

Following Friedman (2000)

“Globalization is the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before—in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world far­ther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before”[15].

Much of the activity of many institutes are taken up with establishing contacts and collaboration with other policy actors: creating regional and international connections with like-minded institutes and with such other non-state actors as foundations, building coalitions in conjunction with NGOs – in the human rights field, for example, or on environmental issues. They help construct communication bridges between NGOs and international organizations like the World Bank, IMF or UN, or regional dialogue structures and networks such as in the EU or APEC[16].

From a conservative point of view, the number of citizenship institutions and their impact and influence is mounting. In Western countries, these organizations have been part of the policy scene for many decades. However, in eastern and central Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, these organizations have expanded significantly in number in the past two decades and are now consolidating.

Global citizenship growth is indicative of a need for more information, analysis, and advice, as economies and societies become more complex and as decision-making and authoritative action take place beyond and in addition to political deliberations within nation-states. The international spread of globalization and the development of global networks is symptomatic of globalization and regionalization.

While many global networks arise from civil society interactions and play what many regards as positive advocacy roles in promoting political debates (improving the quantity and quality of information and analysis in policy-making as well as championing alternative views), global networks remain elite organizations[17]. They cater primarily to the economically and politically literate.

Their elite status and distance from the rest of society are particularly pronounced in poorer developing countries. The people who found these institutes and who work in them are highly educated, middle-class professionals, usually from privileged backgrounds. Moreover, their patrons are usually based on politically and economically prominent organizations in society.

Global network personnel interacts with senior international and national civil servants, members of legislatures (and sometimes ministers and secretaries of state). Their organizational mandates – to inform and/or influence public policy – drive them to engage with others, usually more powerful elites in society. Such relationships have prompted questions about co-option and independence of thought[18].

Questions also arise about funding dependence and how that connects to intellectual autonomy and institutional viability. Many eastern and central European global networks are dependent upon Western donors for their future, with foundations and international organizations crucial in building these organizations now withdrawing or scaling down support.

However, a broader question concerns whether Western research agendas come with Western funding, reflecting the primary concerns of powerful international organizations and donor countries.

While there are many global networks that produce counter-hegemonic knowledge, those sponsored and funded by international organizations and donor groups tend to be well-institutionalized, mainstream institutes whose research agendas concord to a considerable degree with the policy preferences and values of their funding source.

For example, social institutions are mostly global economic networks, and it has been criticized for the inadequate representation of other practitioner perspectives and disciplinary insights[19]. Despite their reputation for inclusiveness and informality, networks do not always represent an even playing field for all global networks.

The civil society has not been subject to much scrutiny. Citizenship influence is manifest in at least three ways. The extent to which individual institutes position themselves favorably with more powerful actors can sometimes bestow power by the association to global networks.

They are perceived to be influential in that they gain some access to decision-makers. Indeed, the transnational character of many policy problems establishes a dynamic for research collaboration, sharing of information and cooperation on other activities that pull global networks into the global domain.

Not only do they meet the demands of governments and international organizations for information, analysis, and other knowledge services, they also produce a public good. Secondly, networks of globalization potentially enhance this power by creating a critical mass of shared policy ideas cultivated through meetings and conferences, collaborative research, and common advocacy.

As suggested above, it is possible to map the roles and occasional impact of individual institutes, as well as of networks of global players, throughout the policy process.

These organizations do have direct influence sufficiently often for international organizations to recognize their research relevance for policy and utility in service delivery and implementation[20]. Consequently, an increasing number of institutes form a key organizational component of transnational intellectual elites connected with political, bureaucratic, and corporate figures[21].

Power is discontinuous, so it does not emanate from a single sovereign source. If knowledge and power are conceived as continuous, there can be no knowledge without power. From this perspective, policy institutes are part of a grid-like network of power in which our sense of reality is shaped, managed, and modulated by knowledge.

Policy research institutes engage in political and ideological practices that help determine the knowledge(s) that become dominant as well as those that are disrupted[22]. Furthermore, their dependence on other power holders for funding and organizational support places limits on what is acceptable or legitimate policy analysis.

Their research is used by them or by others to promote particular agendas. Far from lacking influence, global processes in nation-states are a manifestation of the knowledge/power dynamic and can be argued to be pervasive in their impact in helping to define our social practices and political struggles.

A liberal world-polity understanding of such processes may argue that in this way, political strategies and activities are shaped, as appropriate global (Western liberal) norms of democracy and human rights via their interaction with national and international institutions.

However, two main points of caution are necessary. First, one has to leave more room for the agency in the analysis. Liberal states generally seek to find leverage in the foreign policy of their host country in order to take aim with their demands for accountability and change.

They may reformulate their interests to match those of their host state. An issue of citizenship using internationally institutionalized human rights rhetoric has a better chance of host state attentiveness to their homeland political lobbying in the post-Cold War era, where host states, at least in principle, stress their commitment to promoting democracy and human rights abroad.

Thus, human rights provide the language for negotiation between citizens and states, and international organizations the site where such negotiation may take place. Second, one has to leave more room for the agency of host states. A political agenda’s compliance with human rights norms does not guarantee its success[23].

Despite the intense lobbying, based on the human rights rhetoric of Sikhs and Kurds, there is no Khalistan or Kurdistan. States rarely follow the claim of global citizenship if it goes against national interests.

Thus policy-makers will balance the degree of international institutionalization (such as human rights) with a national interest (such as trade relations with the homeland and voter support) when considering the claim of a political movement. Both the Clinton administration and the Blair government’s positions towards China illustrate how concerns with trade relations out-balance concern with human rights violations[24].

Recent technological and economic changes have further strengthened existing patterns of transnational interaction, bringing non-state actors together across national and functional boundaries, providing them with new means of mobilization and action, giving their messages heightened visibility[25].

The internet has provided fast and cheap communication, enabling opponents to the initiative on a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) to share information before OECD meetings and to publicize their concerns.

In a context of budgetary austerity and neo-liberal reforms, trends towards privatization and outsourcing have opened up new opportunities for economic benefits and political influence, quickly seized by multinational corporations, citizens, and private mercenaries.

On a darker note, organized crime and terrorist groups now have the means to deploy their activities on an unprecedented scale, creating new threats for national security[26].

Regional dynamics also played a major role, as shown notably by the institutionalization of European political parties post-Maastricht, the cementing of transnational protest coalitions in response to the NAFTA initiative, or the involvement of south-east Asian global networks in APEC.

Liberal states, with limited governments, expect to work in partnership with the organizations of civil society and the market economy and often seek to use them as instruments in pursuing shared objectives. To an extent, they also tolerate the self-proclaimed radical social movements of global civil society, recognizing the expression of dissent as itself a positive attribute of an open society.

Yet stating that NSAs play a significant role in emerging structures of global governance and multilateral diplomacy tells us little about the efficiency or legitimacy of such arrangements[27]. The challenge to state authority represented by NSA involvement in international politics is likely to remain circumscribed: only state actors can enforce stable property rights; only they can contain outbreaks of popular unrest, both at home and abroad.

A weakening state apparatus might encourage governments and transnational companies to hire mercenaries, but rather than revealing a terminal decline of the state; such practices should be seen as partnerships between public and private actors to shore up fragile state structures[28].

One path to overcome charges of dual loyalty and narrow homeland political agendas is to turn to the language of human rights and democracy in order to legitimate political lobbying. Here the notion of international institutionalization is useful for understanding how international norms legitimize and hence aid the homeland political activities.

The degree of international institutionalization is defined as the extent to which a specific issue-area, such as human rights, is regulated by international norms of cooperation, that is, bilateral agreements, multilateral regimes, and/or international organizations.

The more specific argument is that a high degree of international institutionalization tends to legitimize transnational activities and to increase access to national politics and the ability to influence policy-making (ibid.). Findings from studies of political lobbying illustrate the relevance of this line of inquiry.

For instance, a study concludes that those citizens that speak for furthering democracy and human rights issues in their homeland are the most successful since they comply with international agreements, principles, and norms to which their host state has advertised increased commitment in the post-Cold War era[29].”

The appeal is all the more remarkable in that the dominant western model of civil society seems less conducive to social cohesion and successful economic performance than starkly opposed models of social order, such as those of East Asia”[30]

Besides formal access to policy-makers, the normative discourses on political lobbying in the US and western Europe constitute yet another important difference in the political structures of opportunities. Such discourses and perceptions relate to the sensitive issue of multiculturalism and immigrant incorporation.

Why some global citizens enjoy access to direct dialogue with central policy-makers while others are confined to fly-posting at night is, however, more than a question of their resources. It also relates to the second factor: the national interest of their host country and homeland.

National interest is here generously defined as governments’ perception of economic, political, and security-political priorities, including the priorities of their electorates[31]. The position of the homeland government seems less complex than that of the host state.

Homeland governments wish to curb dissidence and evoke loyalty among their nationals abroad in order to secure economic and political support. The host state, however, may have to balance a range of interests when considering the limits of tolerance vis-à-vis a political movement on its territory.[32][33].

In sum, globalization creates new opportunities for citizenship, which plays a core role in world politics. On the one hand, their direct economic, political, or military interventions are a crucial part of political development in their homelands.

On the other hand, citizenship influences the foreign policy considerations of their host countries. To measure effectiveness in terms of their ability to influence changes in the host state or homeland, governments’ behavior only is too ambitious and narrows a yardstick for success.

Here it will be suggested that political groups’ ability to establish channels of dialogue and get their messages across to political representatives and institutions of the host country or homeland, or at an international level, is in itself a measure of the effectiveness of homeland political activities.

There are also extended channels for political influence and development in Western Europe, as interest groups, transnational alliances of human rights organizations, environmental lobbies, and religious institutions, are being recognized as part and parcel of the national and international political systems.

Footnotes

  1. Bhagwati, J. In Defense of Globalization. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 54.
  2. Wedel 1994:323 cited Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006) 3.
  3. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 87.
  4. Asselborn, J. An Unwarranted Pessimism: Rethinking the European Integration Debate. Harvard International Review, 28 (2006), p. 26.
  5. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 33.
  6. Berting, J. Uniting Europeans by Values: A Feasible Enterprise? European Journal of Social Quality, 6 (2006), p. 127.
  7. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 76.
  8. Stiglitz, J. Globalization and its Discontents, (London: Allen Lane, 2002), 27.
  9. Stiglitz, J. Globalization and its Discontents, (London: Allen Lane, 2002), 65.
  10. Berting, J. Uniting Europeans by Values: A Feasible Enterprise? European Journal of Social Quality, 6 (2006), p. 127.
  11. Friedman, Th. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. (Anchor; 1 Anchor edition, 2000), 87.
  12. Stiglitz, J. Globalization and its Discontents, (London: Allen Lane, 2002), 76.
  13. Hirst, P. and Thompson, K. Globalization in Question: The International Economy and the Possibility of Governance, (Second Edition; Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999), 44.
  14. Berting, J. Uniting Europeans by Values: A Feasible Enterprise? European Journal of Social Quality, 6 (2006), p. 127.
  15. Friedman, Th. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. (Anchor; 1 Anchor edition, 2000)9.
  16. Brown, P. and Lauder, H. Capitalism and Social Progress: The Future of Society in a Global Economy, (London: Palgrave, 2001), 87.
  17. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 56.
  18. Brown, P. and Lauder, H. Capitalism and Social Progress: The Future of Society in a Global Economy, (London: Palgrave, 2001), 98.
  19. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 54.
  20. Friedman, Th. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. (Anchor; 1 Anchor edition, 2000), 43.
  21. Hirst, P. and Thompson, K. Globalization in Question: The International Economy and the Possibility of Governance, (Second Edition; Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999), 82.
  22. Berting, J. Uniting Europeans by Values: A Feasible Enterprise? European Journal of Social Quality, 6 (2006), p. 127.
  23. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 88.
  24. Bhagwati, J. In Defense of Globalization. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 34.
  25. Hirst, P. and Thompson, K. Globalization in Question: The International Economy and the Possibility of Governance, (Second Edition; Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999), 192.
  26. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 45.
  27. Stiglitz, J. Globalization and its Discontents, (London: Allen Lane, 2002), 123.
  28. Bhagwati, J. In Defense of Globalization. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 49.
  29. Stiglitz, J. Globalization and its Discontents, (London: Allen Lane, 2002), 154.
  30. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006), 87.
  31. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006)101.
  32. Ibid., 193
  33. Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006)143.

Works Cited

Asselborn, J. An Unwarranted Pessimism: Rethinking the European Integration Debate. Harvard International Review, 28 (2006), p. 26.

Berting, J. Uniting Europeans by Values: A Feasible Enterprise? European Journal of Social Quality, 6 (2006), p. 127.

Bhagwati, J. In Defense of Globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Brown, P. and Lauder, H. Capitalism and Social Progress: The Future of Society in a Global Economy, London: Palgrave, 2001.

Friedman, Th. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. Anchor; 1 Anchor edition, 2000.

Hirst, P. and Thompson, K. Globalization in Question: The International Economy and the Possibility of Governance, Second Edition; Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999.

Stiglitz, J. Globalization and its Discontents, London: Allen Lane, 2002.

Wade, R., Kambhampati, U. S., Guista, M. D. Critical Perspectives on Globalization. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006.

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