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Social Movements for Global Democracy (Themes in Global Social Change) Paperback – December 31, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


This impressive book presents a distinctive and provocative point of view. It successfully combines the construction of an analytical framework with the advocacy of a political agenda without allowing the political agenda to overwhelm the analytical framework or the analytical framework to obscure the political issues at stake. Social Movements for Global Democracy will play an important role in future debates over globalization.

(Peter Evans, University of California, Berkeley)

At last, a book that takes seriously the role of international institutions in opposing global neoliberalism! While acutely conscious of the biases of these institutions, Smith vigorously argues that the new forms of democratic participation encapsulated in the movement for global justice must engage them in contentious interaction. Her book is a challenge to movement activists and to institutional elites alike.

(Sidney Tarrow, Maxwell Upson Professor of Government and Professor of Sociology, Cornell University)

Smith's book nicely illuminates the emerging world of global civil society, providing tools for its ongoing study.

(G. John Ikenberry Foreign Affairs)

Highly recommended.


She mobilizes a host of secondary literature, as well as original field research, to offer a well-supported examination of the threats to, and need for, making multilateral institutions work on behalf of those who would save the world, not sell it.

(Elisabeth Jay Friedman Mobilization)

An impassioned examination of transnational social movements... provides valuable insights into the mobilization, tactics, and successes of the democratic globalization movement.

(Liam Swiss Canadian Journal of Sociology)

This is an excellent study that shows the diversity of the democratic globalization movement.

(Agnieszka Paczynska Peace and Change)

Smith has gathered a very impressive collection of data on complex global processes and structures. Writing from an engaged, critical perspective, she offers a coherent, thoughtful analysis of contested processes of globalization and constructive insights on potential pathways toward global democratization. This excellent book will be of great interest to sociologists and other students of this critical issue of our times.

(Lynn R. Horton Contemporary Sociology)

The most comprehensive and well-documented study to date on current transnational movements. Smith deserves credit for penning such a thorough, reflexive, and multifaceted book.

(Dana M. Williams Sociology)

About the Author

Jackie Smith is an associate professor of sociology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is coauthor of Global Democracy and the World Social Forums and coeditor of Coalitions Across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neoliberal Order, Globalizing Resistance: Transnational Dimensions of Social Movements, and Transnational Social Movements and Global Politics: Solidarity Beyond the State.


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Product Details

  • Series: Themes in Global Social Change
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (December 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801887445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801887444
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book will be of interest primarily for purposeful activists looking for intellectual tools to enhance their effectiveness as well as academics who study social movements.

The book's principal value is threefold. It provides a loose intellectual framework to help activists assess and analyze ongoing social change efforts and identify more promising leverage points and strategies for future efforts. It dispels some mental traps that limit the effectiveness of some advocacy efforts, such as an assumption of a necessary incompatibility between focusing on local or national, versus international levels. Quite the contrary, the author maintains, and she illustrates this point nicely with examples. Third, it is well sourced and pulls together in one place many useful writings on these issues which activists and academics might otherwise have difficulty finding out about.

While the topic might sound dreamy to some, the author is hard-headed in having a clear and coherent concept of power. She does not argue against globalization, but rather sees two broad versions of it competing with one another for policy influence. One, the currently dominant vision of economic globalization, has long been philosophically relatively coherent. It has access to vast economic resources and with those, dominant political influence at the moment. The other is led by those she calls democratic globalizers. It is focused primarily on environmental and human rights issues broadly construed. It is diffuse, has been conceptually and programmatically lacking in coherence, and poor in financial resources. Smith's book is an informed, perceptive effort to help the latter group more effectively get its concerns addressed.

I'd offer two caveats.
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