Internal, or national social movements are defined as organized groups striving to work toward a common goal within a specific region. The recent movement in the United States to provide justice and equal rights to homosexuals is an example of a social movement that does not go outside of the specific region it was formed in. Internal social movements are generally created in respect to a regional displacement of power, or regional discontent, where the majority of people in the area collectively agree on a political or social matter needing change. Recently, due to globalization, an increase in the diffusion of ideas has lead to a new form of social movement that spreads over national borders. This new form of social movements is called transnational collective action or TCA. Transnational collective action can be seen as organized campaigns, created by networks of people with a unified purpose, that exceed national boundaries, and target international actors, and institutions, and their policies. The major difference between national social movements and TCA can be observed in the institution involved which the social movement is displeased, and the availability of organized social movement centers in different nations. In order for a social movement to be considered transnational collective action there needs to be unified social action, from organized groups in different nations, that target international institutions and policies, that cause global concern. The social movement cannot just be supported by different nations, but must be collectively implemented, on the international level, by organized groups of activists within different nations.
One of the issues with transnational collective action can be found within the activists. Social movements that are global become far out of reach of the supporters. The activists working on an international scale may form the social movement in a way that is beneficial to the social movement in their nation instead of all the parties involved. This can lead to activist who might not necessarily support the social movement they are backing, but the effects it may have on their national government, allowing them to move forward on another social movement pertaining greater personal interest. Another issue is with the actual impact of TCA’s on specific areas. This is variable, per region, based on, the knowledge and support of the political movement in the community, as well as opportunities to implement change politically in the area. If elites control the groups who have decision making abilities, the true social movement expressed by the people may be undermined as the government would have it’s own representatives present ,at international organization meetings, supporting what they want. Elites also have the ability to control the knowledge that people have within an area pertaining to TCA happening globally, this blocks the ability for social action.
Child labor issues are an example of a problematic issue that was confronted with transnational collective action. In 1999 the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention was created and called for action by all countries to prohibit child labor practices similar to slavery. With the increasing movement of labor worldwide due to globalization, child labor became an international issue. The ability to solve the issue internally was not available because if it was handled nationally the child labor would then be outsourced to areas that did not have national organizations against it. This created for a call of action worldwide to reduce child labor.
Develtere, Patrick, and An Huybrechs. “The Movement for the Abolition of Child Labour as an Example of a Transnational Network Movement.” Jstor. Pluto Journals, n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
Andréosso-O’Callaghan, Bernadette, and Frédéric Royall. Economic and Political Change in Asia and Europe: Social Movement Analyses. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. Print.
Caouette, Dominique. “Thinking and Nurturing Transnational Activism in Southeast Asia.” Thinking and Nurturing Transnational Activism in Southeast Asia. N.p., May 2006. Web. 09 Aug. 2016.
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