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VOLUME 3 (2001), ISSUE 5  (SUMMER)






Globalization disrupts structures of legitimacy: practices and institutions are politicized in new ways, opening up new avenues for political and social change. With globalization, at least three power sources have emerged: transnational corporations, inter-governmental institutions, and global norms. Social movements have emerged to contest these sources, with the logic of contestation reflecting the different ways in which power is exercised and experienced.

Some social movements seek to adapt globalize institutions to meet popular priorities. Here the orientation is cosmopolitan and founded on the assumption that the decision-making process can be reformed. Others adopt a more rejectionist stance, arguing that globalizing institutions are irredeemable. These movements mobilize to assert autonomy from globalizing pressures, often drawing on communal, local or national affiliations. Finally, there are movements that seek to bridge the divide between globalism and autonomy. These construct transnational orientations, with autonomy revitalized through coalition-building and joint action.

This article debates the three responses, characterizing the first as "globalist adaptation", the second as "localist confrontation", and the third as "transnational resistance". The article ends with some discussion of how the three perspectives might interact to influence developments in global politics.


Social movements - Globalization - NGOS - Cosmopolitanism - Localism - Transnationalism


James GOODMAN is a lecturer at the University of Technology in Broadway, New South Wales, Australia. He is editor of "Protest and Globalization: Prospects for Transnational Solidarity" (2001) and co-editor of "Stopping the Juggernaut : Public Interests versus the Multilateral Agreement on Investment" (1998). He is also author of "Single Europe, Single Ireland ? Uneven development in process" (2000), and "Disagreeing Ireland: Contexts, Obstacles, Hopes" (1998). He is a lecturer in International Political Economy and Cultural Studies at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.


This article is a revised version of a paper presented to the 4th Conference of the Asia Pacific Sociological Association (APSA), on the 14-16th of September 2000 at Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan. The University of Technology Sydney funded the research on which this article is based.


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