What, if anything, can transnational advocacy networks (TANs) contribute to the democratization of public spheres outside Westphalian frameworks? On the one hand, TANs excel at turning international public campaigns into political influence – connecting people and power across borders. On the other hand, the increasingly policy-orientated nature of TANs raises questions about their legitimacy in speaking on behalf of multiple publics. In this article, I suggest that a TAN's success in ensuring the political efficacy of public spheres, while at the same time undermining their normative legitimacy, reflects two sides of the same coin. This is a consequence of the recent internal professionalization of advocacy networks. Framing professionalization as a particular form of communicative distortion within TAN decision-making, I suggest that networks should incorporate internal deliberative mechanisms, adapted from international social forums, to enhance the normative legitimacy of democratic public spheres.
- PUBLIC SPHERES
- SOCIAL FORUMS
- TRANSNATIONAL ADVOCACY NETWORKS