Digital advocacy organizations are an influential, but understudied actor in international affairs. Organizations such as MoveOn, GetUp and Campact derive power and influence from their ability to rapidly mobilize members on-line and off-line and are shaping public opinion on many issues including climate change, trade, and refugees. Research in international relations (IR) has highlighted the influence of non-governmental organizations, which wield power through their expertise and long-term, moral commitment to an issue. However, no IR scholars have explored the spread and power of digital advocacy organizations.
In this talk, Nina Hall will present the main findings of her new book Transnational Advocacy in the Digital Era (Oxford University Press), which provides a detailed investigation of how digital advocacy organizations can harness digitally networked power. These organizations can respond to the most salient issues of the day and mobilize large memberships to put pressure on politicians. She finds that digital advocacy organizations operate in a globalized world but tackle transnational problems by focusing on national targets. Though forming a strong transnational network, this new generation of activists still see the state as the primary locus of power.
Nina Hall is an Assistant Professor in International Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Her research explores the role of transnational advocacy and international organizations in international relations. She has published in the International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Global Environmental Politics, and Global Governance. Her first book was Displacement, Development and Climate Change: International Organizations Moving Beyond their Mandates? (Routledge, 2016).
She previously worked as a Lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance and has a DPhil (PhD) in International Relations from the University of Oxford. She is the co-founder of Te Kuaka, an independent organization which promotes a progressive role for New Zealand in the world. In 2021, she was a Senior Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute (the German Internet Institute) in Berlin, and a Research Associate at the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She is currently a Faculty Affiliate at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Cecilia Cannon, Senior Policy Analyst at PoliSync Centre for International Policy Engagement, Geneva Graduate Institute
Andreas Freimueller, Co-founder and CEO at Campax
Annabelle Littoz-Monnet, Professor of International Relations/Political Science and Director of the Global Governance Centre, Geneva Graduate Institute
Photo by Robin Erino