Political Opportunity Structures and the Outcomes of Transnational Campaigns: A Comparison of Two Transnational Advocacy Networks


  • Noha Shawki

  • The author would like to thank Karen Rasler, Robbie Lieberman, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.


Two of the most prominent transnational advocacy networks that were launched in the 1990s are the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). The ICBL was very successful in shaping global policy on landmines, while IANSA has had much less political impact. To explain the substantial difference in the political outcomes of these otherwise quite similar campaigns, this article draws on the concept of the political opportunity structure, a key concept in social movement theory, adapts it to the transnational context, and applies it to a comparison of the ICBL and IANSA. Transnational advocacy networks that are able to seize the opportunities created by international conference diplomacy and by UN initiatives, and whose agenda does not result in value clashes or other types of intractable conflicts, are more likely to shape political outcomes.


The accelerating pace of globalization and international integration has significantly altered the context in which international interactions take place. One of the major manifestations of this process has been the rise of international organizations (IOs) and of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). These trends have resulted in major changes in the ways social movements and other civil society groups operate and have given rise to new forms of transnational activism.1

One of these novel forms of activism is the campaigns launched by transnational advocacy networks (TANs). TANs are networks involving “actors working internationally on an issue, who are bound together by shared values, a common discourse, and dense exchanges of information and services;” TANs are especially likely to form “in issue areas characterized by high value content and informational uncertainty.”2 There have been a number of successful TAN campaigns in the past fifteen years that have addressed a broad range of global policy problems. One prominent example is the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which was founded in the 1990s to address the grave humanitarian consequences of antipersonnel (AP) landmines.3 The ICBL successfully campaigned for an international treaty that bans the use, production, stockpiling, and sale of AP landmines. Treaty implementation has been relatively successful: landmine production has fallen significantly and the landmine trade has virtually ceased. In addition, large landmine stockpiles have been destroyed, and mine clearance has accelerated (more on this below). This has all resulted in a significant decline in the number of landmine victims.

Not all TANs are as successful as the ICBL. One less successful TAN is the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), which was founded in the 1990s to address the illegal proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW), which are responsible for the vast majority of casualties in civil wars.4 IANSA has so far only had minor success and has not achieved its goal of negotiating legally binding agreements to stem the illegal flows of SALW and more closely monitor and regulate their transfer. Existing agreements are relatively weak and only politically binding. Also, a number of countries remain opposed to any international restrictions or oversight over the small arms trade. IANSA was successful in setting the agenda and framing of the SALW crisis. IANSA has thus had only minor impact on the global policy process, which has stalled over the past few years.

What explains the variation in the political outcomes of these two campaigns? Why are some TANs much more successful in influencing political outcomes than others? These questions have not been studied systematically, although there are a few important exceptions.5 This article addresses these two questions through drawing on the theoretical literature on the political opportunity structure (POS).

The ICBL and IANSA are two cases that lend themselves particularly well to a comparative study. Both TANs were formed to address the humanitarian consequences of certain weapons. Both campaigns were launched in the 1990s, a decade that saw a renewed commitment in the international community to address human rights and humanitarian issues following the end of the Cold War. Finally, both TANs had hundreds of members from around the world, including human rights and humanitarian NGOs, faith-based organizations, and social movements. Despite the similarities in their membership, issue focus, and the timing of their campaigns, these two TANs have had very different outcomes and therefore provide a very good opportunity for comparative research focused on explaining variation in the political outcomes of transnational campaigns.

The SALW crisis is more complicated than the landmine problem because it requires initiatives to stem the illegal flows of SALW and is therefore a law enforcement problem and not only a humanitarian challenge. Also, a prohibition of landmines is in some ways simpler and more straightforward than the regulation and monitoring of trade in SALW. Still, one cannot explain the differences in the political outcomes solely in terms of the characteristics intrinsic to SALW and landmines. The concept of the POS can help us gain a deeper understanding of the variation in outcomes.

This article is organized into four sections. The first section provides a review of the literature on the POS and discusses the application of this concept to the transnational context. The second and third sections provide an analysis and comparison of the POS that the ICBL and IANSA encountered in their efforts to shape the global public policy process in their areas of focus. The evidence that emerges from comparing these two cases, which is discussed in the fourth and final section, suggests that certain aspects of the POS can explain the variation in the political impact of different TANs. The article contributes to the literature on transnationalism through a comparative study to explain the political outcomes of transnational campaigns. It also advances our understanding of transnational activism by proposing a novel way of adapting the concept of POS to the transnational context.

The Structure of Political Opportunities

The political opportunity framework is one of the central approaches to the study of social movements. The basic premise is that contextual factors can help scholars understand variation in social movement mobilization, strategies, and outcomes.6

The POS encompasses a range of structural features of political systems that can make them more or less insulated from civil society and more or less open to the demands of social movements. These features include the degree of centralization of the political system, the nature of the electoral system, the position of political parties, international alliances, and the degree of state repression within a country.7 In addition, the configuration of actors, a term that encompasses allies, adversaries, countermovements, and the larger public, can shape the structure of political opportunities in ways that facilitate or constrain social movement mobilization and success.8 Studies using the POS approach have yielded some compelling findings and enhanced our understanding of social movement dynamics. For instance, one of the significant findings is that “activists’ prospects for advancing particular claims, mobilizing supporters, and affecting influence are context-dependent.”9 In other words, the (international) political environment conditions the mobilization of social movements and their outcomes, and it helps us explain the variation in the political outcomes of TANs.

Most research focuses on the structural aspects of the POS that explain the emergence of social movements and the outcomes of their activities. However, leading social movements theorists have recently attempted to give more attention to nonstructural dimensions of political opportunities. Among them are Goodwin and Jasper, who maintain that nonstructural factors “include strategy and agency, which have to do with the active choices and efforts of movement actors as well as of the opponents and other players in the conflict, and cultural factors that deal with the moral visions, cognitive understandings, and emotions that exist prior to a movement but which are also transformed by it.”10

Goldstone proposes replacing the concept of POS with the concept of external relational fields, which views movements “as elements in a complex field of players in politics and society that are seeking advantages by using a variety of tactics.”11 External relational fields include other actors, such as countermovements, publics, elites, political authorities, and other actors who engage, compete, and/or cooperate with social movements. They also include what Goldstone refers to as “symbolic and value orientations” in a society, which heavily influence how a social movement and its claims are received.12 A key part of Goldstone’s argument is that the relations among the different components of a movement’s external environment vary from one social movement to another and significantly influence the opportunities and constraints of each individual social movement or of related movements in idiosyncratic ways.13

The International Political Opportunity Structure

Most of the theoretical formulations and empirical findings surrounding the POS are based on research on domestic social movements. Therefore, it is important to examine how the concept of POS can be used in the international context and how it has been adapted to the study of transnational activism.


One of the most systematic efforts to study the international POS is Sidney Tarrow’s The New Transnational Activism. Tarrow introduces the concept of internationalism to explore aspects of the opportunity structure of transnational activism. He uses the term internationalism to describe “a dense, triangular structure of relations among states, nonstate actors, and international institutions, and the opportunities this produces for actors to engage in collective action at different levels of this system.”14 Central to this concept are international institutions, including IOs and international regimes.

Tarrow argues that these institutions create political spaces and arenas for nonstate actors to establish ties among themselves, to organize, and to mobilize. IOs generate new information, implement policies agreed to by member states, and create new rules. These functions make them focal points of transnational activism.15 Moreover, IOs are international actors in their own right. They have their own institutional interests and identities, possess agency, and are able to cooperate with states and civil society actors. All of this entails greater access for TANs and other nonstate actors to the global public policy process. Internationalism is thus “a structure of opportunities, resources, and threats within which transnational contention is mobilized.”16

Jackie Smith develops a similar argument about the importance of IOs in creating and encouraging transnational activism.17 She points to the growing number of IOs that serve as a locus of global public policymaking and argues that this trend has prompted civil society groups to shift the locus of their campaigns to the international level and to forge transnational ties with their counterparts around the world. Most of these coalitions have been increasingly decentralized and flexible, allowing each coalition member substantial autonomy. They form in larger numbers in the years leading up to and following international conferences held to discuss global policy problems, which suggests that internationalism creates new opportunities for transnational organizing.

In short, Tarrow and Smith’s theoretical formulations and the available empirical evidence suggest that, all else being equal, TANs campaigning on issues that are on the agendas of IOs face a more open POS than TANs that are not. This is because IOs and internationalism in general not only create a focal point for transnational campaigns but also set the stage for TANs to engage in processes that can help them advance their goals and have political impact (more on this point below).

What are the mechanisms and processes that link internationalism to transnational mobilization? How do TANs use the opportunities available through internationalism to advance their goals and agendas? While it is clear that internationalism does not automatically result in transnational contention and successful outcomes, we know relatively little about these processes. Fortunately, Tarrow’s work introduces a number of processes that can help us understand and explain the ability of TANs to harness the political opportunities that internationalism creates.

Tarrow explains that transnational activism is the result of six processes that operate at different levels of analysis and are facilitated by internationalism. Each of them can take place alone, but a combination of different processes often occurs.18 Two of the six processes are relevant in the context of the TANs under study19 and inform this study of TAN campaign outcomes: scale shift and coalition building.

The first process is scale shift, which Tarrow defines as “a change in the number and level of coordinated contentious actions to a different focal point, involving a new range of actors, different objects, and broadened claims.”20 This process encompasses five mechanisms: coordination, brokerage, theorization, target shift, and claim shift.21 Coordination refers to the “joint planning of collective action and the creation of instances for cross-spatial collaboration.”22 Coordination requires brokerage, which is the building of ties that connect activists worldwide, as well as theorization, which refers to abstracting an idea or a cause from a specific context and making it applicable or relevant to other contexts. Scale shift also entails a shift in claims and targets because pressing claims at the international level also involves a shift in the targets of collective action.

Scale shift thus “requires a shift in the focal point of contention, a move from familiar domestic structures of opportunity and constraint to new terrains, and the need to forge new alliances with different allies against different opponents.”23 One example that Tarrow uses to illustrate scale shift, which can operate upward or downward, is the case of the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF was launched by local and regional antiglobalization and global justice groups, and represents an upward shift of the scale of their activities to the transnational level. These groups had been active in the antiglobalization movement prior to the first WSF, which was held in 2001, but the WSF was “a major upward shift in scale.”24 Since 2001 the WFS has grown in the number of participants and the scope of its agenda, but there has also been a trend toward a downward scale shift.25 Local and regional social forums have been held in different parts of the world. The series of European Social Forums held since 2002 is a good example of this downward shift in scale. One can also argue that the first U.S. Social Forum, which was held in 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia, and the next U.S. Social Forum, which will take place in Detroit, Michigan, in 2010, and the regional social forums in the United States all represent instances of downward scale shift.26 My argument here is that claim and target shift, in particular, are expressions of the political opportunities that internationalism creates. These processes are facilitated by the rise of IOs, conferences, and summits as the preferred venues for addressing many global policy problems.

The second process describing transnational activism is coalition building. Tarrow develops a typology of transnational coalitions and explains that there are four types of coalitions, which differ in the degree of cooperation or involvement and the duration of cooperation: instrumental coalitions (characterized by a low degree of cooperation and a short duration), event coalitions (short duration and high degree of cooperation), federated coalitions (long duration and low degree of cooperation), and campaign coalitions (long duration and high degree of cooperation). Most TANs attempt to establish campaign coalitions that involve sustained cooperation over an extended time period and a relatively narrow substantive focus. One factor that explains the ability of transnational activists to achieve this kind of sustained cooperation is what Tarrow refers to as “opportunity spirals.”27 Opportunity spirals occur when activists act on existing political opportunities and transform them into new opportunities. Campaign coalitions are by definition very flexible and nonhierarchical, and flexibility allows them to shift the venues of their activities in pursuit of new political opportunities. Tarrow explains that “[a]n important part of coalition work is seeing new opportunities and using them to build an enduring basis for solidarity.”28

To summarize, internationalism can help TANs promote their goals and influence policy insofar as it creates new political spaces, new potential allies, and targets of activism. Internationalism can therefore create opportunities and incentives for civil society groups to shift the scale of their activities. Internationalism can also increase the chances for TANs of finding and seizing new political opportunities and creating opportunity spirals. Scale shift and opportunity spirals represent two mechanisms through which TANs translate the political opportunities of internationalism into effective campaigns.

Regime Theory

The political outcomes of transnational activism can be conceptualized in terms of the creation of collective goods. International relations scholars have addressed the issue of collective action and the creation of international collective goods in research on international regime theory. Regimes can be viewed as a mechanism of international governance and as an instrument for the provision of global public goods.29 Therefore, the political impact of TANs can be understood in terms of the formation of new international regimes that address global policy problems and create global collective goods. Regime theorists have provided a number of explanations for successful regime formation processes. These explanations are relevant in the context of this study because they identify elements of the political context that facilitate or impede the formation of international regimes.

One strand of international regime theory is the problem-structural approach, which is based on the assumption that the feasibility of regime formation and the viability of regimes depend on the structure of the issue area with which a regime is concerned.30 This approach distinguishes between two types of conflicts: dissensual conflicts and consensual conflicts.31 Dissensual conflicts can be either over values or over means, while consensual conflicts can be over relatively or absolutely assessed goods. Conflicts over values occur when the values and beliefs of different actors are incompatible, while conflicts over means occur when there are diverging views about how to pursue a common goal.32 Conflicts over relatively assessed goods center on goods “which gain their value only if one has more than others,” while conflicts over absolutely assessed goods revolve around goods “which gain their value independently from the amount other parties have.”33 Examples of the former type of goods include power and wealth, while examples of the latter type of goods include clean water and food.34 Value conflicts are the most difficult to regulate through an international regime, followed by conflicts over relatively assessed goods and conflicts over means. Conflicts over absolutely assessed goods are the least difficult to resolve.35 This implies that the structure of political opportunities expands with the increasing amenability of an issue to regulation via an international regime. In other words, ceteris paribus, value conflicts are likely to have a POS that is relatively limited, while conflicts over absolutely assessed goods are likely to have a more open POS.

Drawing on this part of the international regimes literature and incorporating it into the adaptation of the concept of POS is unusual, but has two advantages. First, it allows us to draw on other areas of international relations that are relevant to the study of the outcomes of TAN campaigns. Since many TANs, including the ICBL and IANSA, campaign to introduce new international regimes and participate in regime formation processes, the findings are relevant and important. Second, considering arguments about the connection between the nature of disagreements and the feasibility of regimes allows us to include the relational fields that Goldstone proposes. Since the nature of the conflict or disagreement emerges from the interaction of actors involved in the diplomatic negotiations to create a new regime, be they state or nonstate actors, and from the values, norms, and policy priorities that they bring to negotiations, the arguments about regime formation reviewed above represent one way by which we can focus our attention on nonstructural aspects of the POS and glean some knowledge about the relational fields in which TANs are embedded. This approach proves especially helpful in understanding the outcomes of the IANSA campaign.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines

The ICBL launched at a time when peacebuilding received increased attention as a major international task. The United Nations had begun to draw attention to the plight of communities struggling to recover from conflict and facing the development and humanitarian challenges that landmines posed. In other words, there were attempts to place the landmine crisis on the international agenda when the ICBL launched. The ICBL was able to join forces with key IOs, such as UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to increase the momentum around the landmine issue. This led to a review of Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which was another key political opportunity for the ICBL. The ICBL used this international venue to define the landmine crisis as a humanitarian problem, to redefine the nature of the debate on landmines, and to identify key state allies that were willing to support a total ban of landmines. In this situation, even the most ardent opponents of a total ban acknowledged the need to limit the use of landmines to some extent. This highly open structure of political opportunities made it possible for the ICBL to realize many of its campaign goals through the adoption of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also known as the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT), which goes well beyond the amendments restricting landmine use that were adopted as a result of the review of Protocol II of the CCW.

The Impact of the Mine Ban Treaty

Before discussing the different dimensions of the structure of political opportunities that mine ban activists encountered, it is important to address the impact of the MBT and establish that it was quite successful in addressing the landmine crisis and implementing the agenda of the ICBL.

A number of different indicators can be used to determine the impact of the MBT. For example, one important indicator is the destruction of landmine stockpiles, which is required by Article 4 of the MBT.36 A recent Landmine Monitor37 factsheet prepared by Human Rights Watch reports that there has been significant progress in compliance with Article 4: “A total of 85 States Parties have completed the destruction of their stockpiles, collectively destroying 43 million antipersonnel mines.”38 Another indicator of progress is that as of the end of the Landmine Monitor Report39 reporting period in May 2008, thirty-eight countries out of the more than fifty countries that were confirmed producers of AP landmines had halted production.40 During the same reporting period, none of the over 150 state parties used, produced, or transferred landmines.41 Even though international funding for mine action decreased by 10 percent in 2007 from the 2006 funding level, donors gave $430 million, which is the second-highest funding level ever (all amounts in U.S. dollars). States with mined areas increased the amount of mine action funding from 2006 to 2007 by $33 million to a total of $117 million.42 In addition, the legal trade in AP landmines has virtually ceased.43 Finally, as the Landmine Monitor Report concludes, “One of the most significant achievements of the MBT has been the degree to which any use of AP landmines by any actor has been stigmatized throughout the world. Use of antipersonnel mines, especially by governments, has become a rare phenomenon.”44 In fact, “Even non-member states are responding to international pressure and abiding by the spirit of the agreement.”45 For example, the 2008 report finds that four nonparty states known to produce AP landmines in the past ceased their production.46

Compliance with the MBT is not perfect. Despite very significant progress toward implementation, a number of problems and challenges remain. For example, the 2008 Landmine Monitor Report finds that several state parties that possess very large stockpiles of landmines did not destroy them by the deadline and are now in violation of the MBT.47 Also, Article 5 of the MBT requires state parties to clear their mined areas within ten years of joining the MBT. Even though there has been progress in implementing Article 5, many state parties are not on track to comply on time and have requested extensions of the deadline. Even though significant mined areas have been cleared,48 compliance with Article 5 has been described as the “greatest challenge facing the Mine Ban Treaty.”49 Nevertheless, the MBT has had a significant impact on the use, production, and stockpiling of landmines and introduced an international norm that enjoys significant legitimacy and shapes state behavior. Since the MBT reflected many of the goals of the ICBL, the successful implementation of some of its key provisions is an indication that the ICBL was very effective in making its vision of a landmine-free world a reality. There is little doubt that the MBT has been successful and that through influencing its content, the ICBL was able to implement its agenda.

The UN Context

The concerns about the use of landmines as a weapon of war predate the formation of the ICBL by decades.50 Attempts to limit the use of landmines, however, were not successful prior to the 1990s. When the ICBL launched in the early 1990s, the international context was quite favorable to its cause. In 1992 then UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali presented his report An Agenda for Peace to the international community.51 In the report, Ghali presented his views on enhancing preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, and peacekeeping. Article 58 of Agenda for Peace raises the issue of de-mining and states that:

Increasingly it is evident that peace-building after civil or international strife must address the serious problem of land mines, many tens of millions of which remain scattered in present or former combat zones. De-mining should be emphasized in the terms of reference of peace-keeping operations and is crucially important in the restoration of activity when peace-building is under way....52

Just two years later in 1994, Boutros Ghali published an article in Foreign Affairs in which he presented the landmine problem as a humanitarian crisis and urged the international community to address it. Ghali declares that “[t]here is today a global land mine crisis. And while it began as a military problem, it is now an ongoing humanitarian disaster.”53 Ghali goes on to describe the challenges that landmines pose to civilians and societies recovering from conflicts, the impediments they create for peacebuilding and development, and the challenges faced by the United Nations in its efforts to clear landmines. He calls for increased funding for de-mining programs and concludes by asserting that “the world (urgently) needs to establish an international convention on mines. Its purpose should be to reach agreement on a total ban on the production, stockpiling, trade, and the use of mines and their components.”54

International Conference Diplomacy

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which carries the formal title of The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, is one of the many arms limitation and disarmament treaties negotiated within the Conference on Disarmament (CD). It is “the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community” and meets in an annual session.55 The CCW was negotiated in 1980 and entered into force in 1983. The CCW consists of a framework convention and four additional protocols, of which Protocol II addresses the issue of landmines, booby traps, and similar devices. The restrictions on landmines that were initially included in Protocol II were very minimalistic and could not prevent the negative humanitarian impact of landmines. The CCW underwent a number of amendments, and Protocol II was amended in 1996 at the conclusion of the first review conference of the CCW. The amendments fell far short of the total ban demanded by the ICBL. Nevertheless, the review conference was crucial in paving the way for the Ottawa Process.

The series of international conferences that took place on the issue of landmines in the early and mid 1990s as part of the review conference were very significant, for these conferences provided the ICBL with unique and valuable opportunities to shape the international discourse on the landmine crisis. As Williams and Goose, two leaders of the ICBL, explain, the international conferences provided the ICBL with opportunities to pressure delegates and to mobilize the media in favor of the ban.56 Even though the CCW review process did not institute the total ban on landmines that the ICBL had campaigned for, it did provide the ICBL with an opportunity to give the issue of AP mines more prominence and to advance its campaign for a total ban. It allowed the ICBL access to the global public policy process by creating a target and a focal point for activism surrounding landmines to frame the landmine problem as a humanitarian crisis. Activists were also able to engage in processes of scale shift and opportunity spirals. These two mechanisms are among those that link transnational activists and their campaigns to the political opportunities of internationalism and allow them to sustain their campaign coalitions over an extended period.

Opportunity Spirals

After the review conference ended in 1996 with an amendment of Protocol II of the CCW that restricted the use of AP mines but did not introduce a total ban with “no exceptions, no reservations, and no loopholes,”57 the ICBL shifted the focus of its the campaign for a worldwide ban on landmines.58 The ICBL chose to forge a partnership with a number of countries that had expressed a commitment to ban AP mines. In the words of two ICBL leaders, that decision was of “pivotal importance in the next stage of the ban movement.”59

The CCW review conference revealed the substantial differences in the positions that countries adopted on the issue of a complete AP mine ban. This created opportunities for new alliances and allowed the ICBL to identify and bring together pro-ban states to work jointly in a different and non-consensus-based forum toward a ban. Middle powers, for example, Canada and Norway, provided the ICBL with funding and diplomatic resources. Canada played a key role. Canada hosted a conference in Ottawa in the fall of 1996 for pro-ban states, where Lloyd Axworthy, then Canada’s foreign minister, announced that Canada would host a treaty-signing conference in December 1997. After the 1996 conference in Ottawa, the ICBL gained substantial momentum, and many more countries began adopting pro-ban policies. This process culminated in the signing of the convention in December 1997.

In sum, the ICBL benefited from new political opportunities that became available and created opportunity spirals. Its leaders recognized the potential of forging a partnership with pro-ban governments to advance the landmine ban in a forum not subject to the constraints of the CD and in which civil society could play a leading role in drafting and negotiating an MBT. Civil society groups usually have limited access to the CD, and states are very reluctant to grant wider access to NGOs in matters of security and disarmament.60 When an opportunity to work outside of this forum materialized, the ICBL recognized and seized it, which was crucial in sustaining the campaign coalition beyond the CCW review conference.

Scale Shift

In addition to using the opportunities created by internationalism and the activities of IOs to press its claims and to create new opportunities for activism, the ICBL also campaigned at different levels and scales, making different kinds of claims and targeting different actors. These processes correspond roughly to the phenomenon of scale shift. ICBL members shifted the focus of their claims downward to seize political opportunities at the national level and to use them to promote an immediate and total ban of AP landmines, while the ICBL as a whole continued its global focus and its work within multilateral organizations and forums.

A number of examples illustrate this process. In some ways, the success of the ICBL can be seen as a series of small national successes, and the ability of the ICBL to coordinate advocacy with strong national campaigns was a real asset to the mine ban movement as a whole.61 The case of France is a good illustration of this point.62 In 1992–1993, Handicap International France (HI) lobbied the French government to call for a review conference of the CCW, a step that any state party to the treaty could take ten years after the protocol came into force. HI’s strategy also consisted of circulating a report on landmines and their devastating effects to French members of parliament and to all members of the European Parliament. Moreover, HI organized conferences that provided a forum for a number of different stakeholders to debate the issue of landmines and raise awareness of its humanitarian consequences. HI also greatly benefited from having allies in key government positions who were able to help activists advance their goals. The efforts of HI bore fruit; in February 1993, the French government announced its plans to request a CCW review conference. This set the stage for all of the previously described campaigns and activities as well as the new strategies and alliances surrounding the review conference and its aftermath.63 Other national campaigns to ban landmines also used national political opportunities, including the election or appointment of individuals or governments who could serve as allies to press their claims and induce national governments to adopt policies that advance the global cause of the ICBL.64

A Conflict Over Means

An examination of the nature of the disagreements over a worldwide ban of landmines is informative. The main argument advanced by the ICBL was that AP landmines do not discriminate between combatants and noncombatants and inflict disproportionate suffering on their victims. These humanitarian concerns were not questioned throughout the Ottawa Process by the countries that were opposed to a worldwide ban on landmines. There seems to have been a worldwide consensus, even among countries that were and remain opposed to the MBT, that the issues the ICBL raised about the lack of proportionality and discrimination of AP landmines were very legitimate concerns that needed to be addressed. In that sense, there was no conflict over values, but one over means. The conflict centered on the necessity of an international treaty to introduce an immediate worldwide ban on landmines with “no exception, no reservations and no loopholes.” Some of the countries opposing the treaty were in favor of gradually moving toward a prohibition and making it a long-term goal instead of introducing an immediate ban, in part to have the option of developing more benign alternatives to AP landmines. Also, some of the ban opponents argued that “smart mines,” which are self-destructing and self-deactivating mines, should not be banned.

The examples of India and the United States demonstrate that the controversy surrounding AP landmines centered not on the need to address the humanitarian consequences of the weapon but on the means to achieve that goal. They and other states that are not parties to the Ottawa Convention have maintained that landmines have an important military function and that certain types of AP landmines are legitimate if used according to procedures that ensure the safety of civilians.65

India’s rejection of the MBT represents not a rejection of the humanitarian values underlying it but a rejection of the means chosen to realize those values, a total ban of landmines. From India’s perspective a ban of landmines is not needed to protect noncombatants and prevent the continuation of the impact of landmines after a conflict has ended. What is necessary from India’s perspective is new standards that regulate the use of landmines and ensure the safety of noncombatants, because the humanitarian problem is not inherent in landmines as such, but lies in the way they are used.66 The United States has advanced similar arguments in defense of its landmine policy during and after the Ottawa Process, arguing that smart mines are legitimate weapons of war, while continuing to make significant contributions to mine-clearing programs. Other countries, such as Iran and Pakistan, have not joined the Ottawa Convention but have acknowledged the toll that AP mines take on human security and cited overriding security concerns that do not allow them to join the MBT.67

These examples lend support to the argument that conflicts about means are among the types of conflicts that are likely to be regulated by international regimes. The ICBL chose from the outset to promote a treaty that has “no exceptions, no reservations, and no loopholes,” even if that meant having fewer treaty signatories. Understanding the nature of the conflict can help us explain why some countries that did not sign and ratify it were and remain committed to its core objectives. Many of these states do not object to the human rights and humanitarian norms and values that the MBT represents, but do have reservations about the MBT as a means to address the humanitarian impact of landmines. This is one of the important reasons why the ICBL has been successful in introducing a new norm and securing an MBT that has generated broad-based compliance, and why some of the MBT opponents have complied with some, albeit not all, of its key provisions. The conflict over means contrasts sharply with the value conflict that has made it difficult for IANSA to secure significant political outcomes and address the small arms crisis.

The International Action Network on Small Arms

Even though IANSA was effective in defining the nature of the small arms crisis and keeping it on the international agenda, the agreements that grew out of the process remain weak. The main international document on the issue is the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA), which gave rise to a number of other initiatives, such as the International Tracing Instrument (ITI). The PoA and the ITI are both only politically binding, and the PoA leaves states too much leeway in implementing its provisions (or not) and does not propose any bold or innovative solutions to the small arms crisis. IANSA activists have not been able to strengthen them in ways that reflect the campaign’s agenda and policy priorities. In a nutshell, “the structural power (getting and keeping the issue on the agenda) of the international campaign appears to be greater than its bargaining power (achieving specific outcomes).”68

This is not due to a lack of an international forum that can serve as a focal point for transnational activism surrounding the small arms crisis. Prior to the formal establishment of IANSA in May of 1999, a number of regional meetings, workshops, and U.N.-led initiatives focusing on the SALW crisis had taken place. Since 2001, a series of international conferences have focused on SALW and their impact. The activities and initiatives of the United Nations created new opportunities for IANSA and a focal point for its activities. However, there is no evidence that IANSA was involved in complex processes of scale shift (beyond the formation of a global campaign) or that it was able to generate opportunity spirals, which are among the mechanisms that link activists to the political opportunities of internationalism. This is in part the result of the nature of the conflict that dominated the U.N. small arms process. IANSA faced very strong opposition from pro-gun groups, who had better access to key conference delegations. These groups significantly reduced the opportunities available to IANSA by effectively framing the controversy surrounding the international response to the SALW crisis as one over values.

The UN Process

The United Nations’ attempt to draw attention to the SALW crisis and to create momentum around it predates the formation of IANSA. In 1992, former UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali prepared An Agenda for Peace, a report for the Security Council, which met for the first time at the level of heads of state and heads of government.69 In 1995, Ghali prepared another report, Supplement to an Agenda for Peace, on the occasion of the UN’s fiftieth anniversary.70 In this later report, Ghali recognized the progress made since 1992 to limit the proliferation and restrict the use of weapons of mass destruction and argued that international attention must now be directed to what he referred to as “micro disarmament,” or “practical disarmament in the context of the conflicts the United Nations is actually dealing with and of the weapons, most of them light weapons, that are actually killing people in the hundreds of thousands.”71

These two reports of the UN Secretary General were issued in the 1990s, a period in which a number of international conferences focusing on global policy problems were convened under the auspices of the United Nations.72 These conferences were becoming a central international venue for addressing a range of different but interconnected issues and for building international consensus on policy responses. Ghali’s inclusion of the SALW problem as a major security issue in Supplement to an Agenda for Peace put SALW on the international agenda. Two years later, in 1997, the UN Small Arms Panel recommended an international conference to address this crisis, which paved the way for the 2001 international conference on SALW. Once the preliminary steps were taken to convene this conference, NGOs began to mobilize around the issue of SALW.73 The conference provided new incentives for NGOs to organize around small arms issues and work on strengthening their capacities to be active participants and to propose policy solutions to the SALW crisis.74 It is within the context of increased attention to microdisarmament75 and the rise of UN-sponsored conference diplomacy that IANSA was launched.

The International Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was held in New York in 2001. This conference and its final document, the PoA, created new focal points for civil society campaigns. This initial conference was followed by two Biennial Meetings of States, held in 2003 and 2005, in which NGOs participated to influence the international debate on small arms. A Review Conference held in 2006 was a very important event on which IANSA focused its activities, producing reports and policy proposals in the run-up to the conference. The Review Conference was followed in 2008 by another Biennial Meeting of States. In short, the U.N. SALW policy process created significant political opportunities for NGOs working on the issue of small arms. However, other aspects of the POS made it very difficult for IANSA to translate these political opportunities of internationalism into policy change.

Movement–Countermovement Dynamics

Unlike the ICBL, IANSA has faced very strong opposition from interest groups and TANs that are fundamentally opposed to some of the central demands of IANSA, such as the inclusion of provisions that regulate civilian possession of firearms in any small arms regime. This opposition includes powerful interest groups, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), which began to expand its activities internationally at the same time the global small arms movement was gaining momentum.76 Other important groups include the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities (WFSA), a Brussels-based pro-gun umbrella organization founded in 1997 to represent the interests of gun manufacturers and pro-gun groups.77 The opposition of these groups to IANSA’s agenda and goals has substantially reduced the political opportunities available to IANSA campaigners.

Pro-gun groups are against international regulation of SALW because of their concern that efforts to regulate and monitor the flows of small arms at the international level will inevitably have implications for the accessibility of firearms at the domestic level.78 They support the introduction of international measures designed to stem illegal flows of small arms, but they vehemently oppose two key demands IANSA makes, namely, including the issue of civilian possession of firearms in international agreements and regulating the legal trade in firearms.79 In contrast, IANSA members maintain that “domestic and international weapons issues are intertwined. Simply put, it will be difficult if not impossible to control the illicit international market in light weapons without monitoring and controlling domestic access to weapons.”80 The NRA has also influenced the U.S. position in multilateral forums.81 Through its influence in 2001, the NRA prevented two key issues from being included in the PoA: the civilian possession of firearms and the transfer of small arms to nonstate actors.82 The influence of the NRA continued in the years following the 2001 Small Arms conference, and during the Review Conference of 2006, the NRA had far greater access to the U.S. delegation and more influence on the conference outcome.83

The case of the NRA and IANSA is a good illustration of a proposition that Meyer and Staggenborg formulate in their study on social movements and their countermovements: “Once a movement enters a particular venue, if there is the possibility of contest, an opposing movement is virtually forced to act in the same arena.”84 Especially important are the ways in which the lobbying efforts of the WFSA and the NRA affected IANSA’s campaign, its access to decision makers, and the POS within which it operates. As Meyer and Staggenborg maintain, “the political opportunity structure changes in response to the actions of both movement and countermovement.…[T]he political opportunities of movements and countermovements are different: each has its own allies and its own relationship to authorities, and each is a component in the political opportunity structure the other confronts.”85 Other scholars of social movements have made very similar arguments. For example, Fetner has also argued that countermovements “alter the political landscape in which social movements interact,”86 and often cause problems for social movements, but can sometimes also be beneficial and unintentionally provide them with new opportunities for advancing their claims.87

We know from previous research about the transnational women’s rights movement that many of Meyer and Staggenborg’s observations and findings apply at the transnational level88 and their arguments are also applicable to the case of IANSA. The mobilization of global civil society around SALW provoked a countermovement by groups that had not been very active internationally, and the lobbying efforts of the WFSA and the NRA affected IANSA’s campaign and the POS it faced. The NRA’s ability to alter the political context is in part the result of its ability to frame the SALW issue as one in which fundamental values are at stake.

Conflicting Values

The differences in the positions of IANSA and the NRA go beyond differences of opinion about efforts to control the spread of small arms. These perceptions are manifestations of the very different sets of values IANSA and pro-gun groups bring to the policy process. A debate that took place in October 2004 at King’s College in London between the director of IANSA and the director of the NRA illustrates these very different values.89 This debate clearly shows that the NRA and IANSA have very different notions of the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms. They also have very different notions of the appropriate scope of government action and the value and desirability of multilateralism and global governance arrangements. The ability of pro-gun groups to cast their opposition to IANSA and its agenda in terms of a value conflict is likely part of the reason why they were able to mobilize and influence the outcomes of international conferences over several years. As Meyer and Staggenborg explain, “The likelihood that opposition to a movement will take the form of a sustained countermovement is directly related to the opposition’s ability to portray the conflict as one that entails larger value cleavages in society.”90 Previous research has documented the significance of value cleavages in transnational countermobilization, and the relationship between value conflicts and sustained countermobilization seems to apply to IANSA as well.91

We know relatively little about how countermovements create value cleavages and hinder the work of their opponents, especially at the transnational level, but previous research does shed some light on this issue. Research about the TAN that has campaigned for gender equality and women’s (human) rights has shown that its counter-network, a TAN promoting more conservative views on women’s issues and working to prevent the adoption and recognition of women’s human rights at the international level, was able to influence the UN-sponsored conferences on women’s issues by defining its position as a positive pro-family position, as opposed to an anti-women’s rights position.92 In addition, it also lobbied against far-reaching women’s rights agreements based on concerns about how universal women’s rights norms could undermine political and cultural sovereignty, principles that are widely accepted.93 One can argue that this counternetwork was able to define the disagreements as about deeply held values and norms about gender, sexuality, gender equality, and sovereignty. This transformed the international debate into a discussion about larger international, social, and religious norms. Finally, this counternetwork forged alliances with key states and international actors that supported its agenda, thus expanding its POS and limiting the opportunities available to women’s rights activists.94

The International Action Network on Small Arms’ case is similar. IANSA framed its agenda in terms of widely held human rights norms, and the implications of the proliferation and misuse of SALW are part of the reason why the United Nations and its member states continue to address the small arms crisis.95 IANSA faced fierce opposition from pro-gun groups that framed their own cause in terms of equally compelling norms, namely, the norms of sovereignty, national security, and individual rights and liberties, especially the right of civilians to own and bear arms.96 The result is a situation in which states continue to hold meetings to address the SALW crisis, but find it very difficult to introduce bold and innovative solutions to respond to its impact because of the competing norms that have come to define the debate.97 When the dynamics between TANs and their counternetworks transform a negotiation situation into a conflict over norms and define the debate in terms of contentious issues that are broader than the narrow issue under discussion, it can become difficult for TANs that advocate a significant departure from the status quo to seize the opportunities created by internationalism and advance their agendas.

This is especially the case when counternetworks have key state allies. Much like the conservative counternetwork mobilizing around women’s rights, the WFSA and other pro-gun groups worked very closely with the U.S. government and thus had a very strong and influential ally. In 2006, the U.S. government appointed three public delegates to its delegation to the Review Conference; the three individuals who served as delegates included two NRA board members and a former member of Congress who had received an A+ rating from the NRA.98 The presence of a presidential administration whose agenda closely aligned with the countermovement greatly expanded the political opportunities for the NRA and other pro-gun groups and severely limited the opportunities available to IANSA, thereby accentuating the disagreement over norms.

Discussion and Conclusion

Several important findings emerge from this research. First, international forums that serve as focal points for international policymaking provide very valuable opportunities for TANs to be active participants in the global policy process, in particular when these forums have procedures for including members of the NGO community and when key international players are open to NGO participation. When TANs are able to use the opportunities created by the processes and institutions of internationalism to shift the scale of their activities and create new opportunities for campaigning at different levels, they are more likely to have influence over the outcomes of the policy process. Second, conflicts over values are particularly difficult to resolve in international negotiations and can significantly reduce the political opportunities for TANs. Finally, movement-countermovement dynamics can be an important dimension of the POS, in part because they can sometimes transform international disagreements into conflicts over values that greatly complicate and hinder the process of finding consensus.

The significant effect that the counternetwork has had on the UN small arms process is an interesting finding because the theoretical literature on the POS does not emphasize the effect of countermovements on political opportunities. This finding is, however, consistent with Goldstone’s arguments about external relational fields and the effect of nonstructural factors, such as value orientations, on the POS. The IANSA campaign demonstrates the significance of countermovements and social values and norms, both parts of relational fields, in assessing the POS and in understanding the dynamics and outcomes of certain social movements, or in this case TANs. In addition, comparing the ICBL and IANSA demonstrates that each social movement or TAN is faced with a different set of relations within its relational field and thus has its own unique set of opportunities and constraints, which is also consistent with Goldstone’s argument. As Goldstone notes, “the precise effect of specific factors depends on the particular movement, issue, and the relationships among other factors that are operating.”99

These findings are valuable because they have implications for the ways social movement scholars research the POS. They demonstrate that it is important for researchers to remain attentive to the broader social and political context in which TAN campaigns and activities unfold. The contextual variables that are most commonly associated with the POS can be a helpful way to start thinking about the POS that a specific movement faces, but if researchers focus narrowly on only these dimensions of the POS, they risk missing some other factors that can influence the POS in specific contexts and for specific TANs.

Relational fields represent one of several promising avenues for further research. In addition, the circumstances under which TANs are able to use the political opportunities of internationalism is a topic that needs to be explored further. As the comparison of IANSA and the ICBL demonstrates, TANs vary in their ability to capitalize on the opportunities available to them, and it is important to understand this variation better. In some cases it can be a function of the opposition of a powerful countermovement, but we need to learn more. Finally, Tarrow’s concepts of scale shift and coalition building, which were given some attention in this study, have not been explored in any depth in the literature on transnational activism. They represent a novel and promising avenue of future research that can help us gain a deeper understanding of the emergence, dynamics, and outcomes of transnational campaigns.


  • 1

     Jackie Smith, “Transnational Processes and Movements,” in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, ed. David Snow, Sarah Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi (Malden, Oxford, and Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 311–335.

  • 2

     Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press, 1998), 2.

  • 3

     For information about the ICBL and the landmine crisis, see http://www.icbl.org.

  • 4

     For information about IANSA and the small arms crisis, see http://www.iansa.org.

  • 5

     See, for example, Sanjeev Khagram, James V. Riker, and Kathryn Sikkink, eds., Restructuring World Politics. Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

  • 6

     Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Hanspeter Kriesi, “Political Context and Opportunity,” in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, ed. David Snow, Sarah Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi (Malden, Oxford, and Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 67–90.

  • 7

     Tarrow, “Power in Movement,” 80; Kriesi, “Political Context and Opportunity;” Herbert Kitschelt, “Political Opportunity Structures and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies,” in British Journal of Political Science Vol. 16, No. 1 (1986): 57–85; Doug McAdam, “Conceptual Origins, Current Problems, Future Directions,” in Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings, ed. Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald (Cambridge, New York, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 23–40.

  • 8

     Kriesi, “Political Context and Opportunity,” 73–74; Tarrow, “Power in Movement,” 79–80; Dieter Rucht, “Movement Allies, Adversaries, and Third Parties,” in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, ed. David Snow, Sarah Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi (Malden, Oxford, and Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 197–216; David Meyer and Suzanne Staggenborg, “Movements, Countermovements, and the Structure of Political Opportunity,” in The American Journal of Sociology Vol. 101, No. 6 (1996): 1628–1660; for an excellent overview see David Meyer, “Protest and Political Opportunities,” in Annual Review of Sociology 30 (2004): 125–145.

  • 9

     Meyer, “Protest and Political Opportunities,” 126.

  • 10

     Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper, “Caught in a Winding, Snarling Vine: the Structural Bias of Political Process Theory,” in Sociological Forum Vol. 14, No. 1 (1999): 27–54, 29.

  • 11

     Jack Goldstone, “More Social Movements or Fewer? Beyond Political Opportunity Structures to Relational Fields,” in Theory and Society Vol. 33, No. 3/4 (2004): 333–365, 358.

  • 12

     Goldstone, “More Social Movements or Fewer?,” 357.

  • 13

     Goldstone, “More Social Movements or Fewer?,” 356–358.

  • 14

     Sidney Tarrow, The New Transnational Activism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 25. Emphasis in the original.

  • 15

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 26.

  • 16

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 203.

  • 17

     Jackie Smith, “Globalization and Transnational Social Movement Organizations,” in Social Movements and Organization Theory, ed. Gerald Davis, Doug McAdam, W. Richard Scott, and Mayer Zald (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 226–248.

  • 18

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 30–34, 204–205.

  • 19

     A number of the processes discussed by Tarrow describe how activists link domestic concerns or grievances in particular countries or social sectors to international issues or actors. They are not applicable to the four TANs discussed here because none of these four cases involve domestic issues specific to one or two countries.

  • 20

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 121. Emphasis in the original.

  • 21

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 122–124.

  • 22

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 122.

  • 23

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 122.

  • 24

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 131.

  • 25

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 132–133.

  • 26

     See the Web site of the U.S. Social Forum at http://www.ussf2007.org/. Examples of regional forums in the United States include the Midwest Social Forum (http://www.mwsocialforum.org/).

  • 27

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 175–176.

  • 28

     Tarrow, “The New Transnational Activism,” 176.

  • 29

     Oran Young, Governance in World Affairs (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1999).

  • 30

     Andreas Hasenclever, Peter Mayer, and Volker Rittberger, “Interests, Power, Knowledge: The Study of International Regimes,” in Mershon International Studies Review Vol. 40, No. 2 (1996): 177–228; Andreas Hasenclever, Peter Mayer, and Volker Rittberger, Theories of International Regimes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 59–68.

  • 31

     Arild Underdal, “The Study of International Regimes,” in Journal of Peace Research Vol. 32, No.1 (1995): 113–119; Volker Rittberger and Michael Zuern, “Regime Theory: Findings from the Study of ‘East-West Regimes’,” in Cooperation and Conflict 26 (1991): 165–183.

  • 32

     Volker Rittberger, Manfred Efinger, and Martin Mendler, “Toward an East-West Security Regime: The Case of Confidence- and Security-Building Measures,” in Journal of Peace Research Vol. 27, No. 1 (1990): 55–74; Hasenclever, Mayer, and Rittberger, “Theories of International Regimes,” 63–64.

  • 33

     Hasenclever, Mayer, and Rittberger, “Theories of International Regimes,” 61.

  • 34

     Hasenclever, Mayer, and Rittberger, “Theories of International Regimes,” 61.

  • 35

     Rittberger, Efinger, and Mendler, “Toward an East-West Security Regime”; Hasenclever, Mayer, and Rittberger, “Theories of International Regimes,” 64.

  • 36

     The text of the MBT in English. http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Treaties/MBT/Treaty-Text-in-Many-Languages/English#4. Accessed June 7, 2009.

  • 37

     The Landmine Monitor is an initiative by the ICBL that was put in place in 1998, shortly after the adoption of the MBT and after consultations with IOs and governments, to report and monitor progress toward implementing the MBT (and now also the Convention on Cluster Munitions). http://lm.icbl.org/index.php/LM/About-Us/History. Accessed June 7, 2009.

  • 38

     Human Rights Watch, Stockpile Destruction (Article 4). Factsheet Prepared for the Landmine Monitor, May 2009. http://lm.icbl.org/index.php/LM/Our-Research-Products/Factsheets. Accessed June 7, 2009.

  • 39

     The Landmine Monitor Report is an annual publication of the Landmine Monitor. The current and past reports are all available from http://www.lm.icbl.org/index.php/LM/Our-Research-Products/Landmine-Monitor. Accessed June 7, 2009.

  • 40

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 6. http://lm.icbl.org/index.php/publications/display?url=lm/2008/. Accessed June 7, 2009.

  • 41

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 3.

  • 42

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 2.

  • 43

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 8.

  • 44

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 5.

  • 45

    http://www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Treaties/MBT/Treaty-Basics. Accessed June 7, 2009.

  • 46

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 6.

  • 47

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 9.

  • 48

     For information and data on mine clearance, see Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 19–28.

  • 49

    Landmine Monitor Report 2008: Towards a Mine-Free World. Executive Summary, 25.

  • 50

     Don Hubert, “The Landmine Ban: A Case Study in Humanitarian Advocacy,” in Thomas Watson Institute for International Studies Occasional Paper # 42 (2000): 1–6.

  • 51

     United Nations, “An Agenda for Peace: Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace-Keeping.”http://www.un.org/Docs/SG/agpeace.html. Accessed July 15, 2008.

  • 52

     United Nations, “Agenda for Peace.”

  • 53

     Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “The Land Mine Crisis. A Humanitarian Disaster,” in Foreign Affairs Vol. 73, No. 5 (1994): 8–13.

  • 54

     Boutros-Ghali, “The Land Mine Crisis,” 13.

  • 55

     See the Web site of the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland, at http://www.unog.ch.

  • 56

     Jody Williams and Stephen Goose, “The International Campaign to Ban Landmines,” in To Walk without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, ed. Maxwell Cameron, Robert Lawson, Brian Tomlin (Ontario: Oxford University Press, 1998), 20–47.

  • 57

     These words are Jody Williams’, and she used them in her address to a conference in Brussels to reiterate that the ICBL would rather see a strong landmine treaty with fewer state parties than a much weaker treaty that accommodates the interests of states opposed to a total ban. Motoko Mekata, “Building Partnerships toward a Common Goal: Experiences of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines,” in The Third Force: The Rise of Transnational Civil Society, ed. Ann Florini (Japan Center for International Exchange and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2000), 143–176; Hubert, “The Landmine Ban,” 23–24.

  • 58

     Hubert, “The Landmine Ban,” 13–19.

  • 59

     Williams and Goose, “The International Campaign to Ban Land Mines,” 32.

  • 60

     David Atwood, “NGOs and Disarmament: Views from the Coal Face,” in Disarmament Forum 1 (2002): 6, 8–9.

  • 61

     Hubert, “The Landmine Ban,” 22–23, 33–34.

  • 62

     Philippe Chabasse, “The French Campaign,” in To Walk without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, ed. Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson, and Brian W. Tomlin (Ontario: Oxford University Press, 1998), 60–67.

  • 63

     Mekata, “Building Partnerships Towards a Common Goal,” 149.

  • 64

     The appointment of Lloyd Axworthy is one example. For an overview of the Canadian campaign, see Valerie Warmington and Celina Tuttle, “The Canadian Campaign,” in To Walk without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, ed. Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson, and Brian W. Tomlin (Ontario: Oxford University Press, 1998), 48–59. Another example of a strong national campaign that was able to use national political opportunities to advance the international goals of a landmine ban is the South African campaign. See Noel Stott, “The South African Campaign,” in To Walk without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, ed. Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson, and Brian W. Tomlin (Ontario: Oxford University Press, 1998), 68–75.

  • 65

     J. Marshall Beier, “Siting Indiscriminacy: India and the Global Movement to Ban Landmines,” in Global Governance 8 (2002): 305–321; Mary Wareham, “Rhetoric and Policy Realities in the United States,” in To Walk without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, ed. Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson, and Brian W. Tomlin (Ontario: Oxford University Press, 1998), 212–243; Gary Bittner, “The Land Mine Debate in the United States: 1990–1999,” in Peace and Security 32 (2001): 1–8.

  • 66

     Beier, “Siting Indiscriminacy,” 314.

  • 67

     The most recent information on the landmine policies of individual countries is available in the Landmine Monitor Report. http://www.icbl.org/lm.

  • 68

     Keith Krause, Norm-Building in Security Spaces: The Emergence of the Light Weapons Problematic. Working Paper of the Research Group in International Security, Université de Montréal, 2001, p. 32.

  • 69

     United Nations, “An Agenda for Peace;” Edward Laurance, “Shaping Global Public Policy on Small Arms: After the UN Conference,” in Brown Journal of World Affairs Vol. 9, No. 1 (2002): 193–201; Edward Laurance and Rachel Stohl, “Making Global Public Policy: The Case of Small Arms and Light Weapons,” in Small Arms Survey: Occasional Paper 7 (December 2002): 4.

  • 70

     United Nations, “Supplement To An Agenda For Peace: Position Paper Of The Secretary-General On The Occasion Of The Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations,” United Nations. http://www.un.org/Docs/SG/agsupp.html. Accessed July 15, 2008; Laurance, “Shaping Global Public Policy on Small Arms,” 193; Peter Batchelor, “NGO Perspectives: NGOs and the Small Arms Issue,” in Disarmament Forum 1 (2002): 37–40.

  • 71

     United Nations, “An Agenda for Peace,” Article 60.

  • 72

     Laurance, “Shaping Global Public Policy on Small Arms,” 193–194; Boutrous-Ghali, “The Land Mine Crisis,” 88–89.

  • 73

     For a chronology of events preceding the UN conference, see Small Arms Survey 2002: Counting the Human Cost (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 204.

  • 74

    Small Arms Survey, 217–218.

  • 75

     Interview with arms trade and small arms researcher and IANSA founding member, August 31, 2005. All interviews were conducted confidentially, with the names of the interviewees withheld by mutual agreement.

  • 76

     Natalie Goldring, “The NRA Goes Global,” in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Vol. 55, No. 1 (1999): 61–65; Aaron Karp, “Laudable Failure,” in SAIS Review Vol. 22, No. 1 (2002): 177–193, 190; Keith Krause, “Multilateral Diplomacy, Norm Building, and UN Conferences: The Case of Small Arms and Light Weapons,” in Global Governance 8 (2002): 247–263.

  • 77

     Thomas Mason, “A Free Trade Perspective from the Firearms Community,” in SAIS Review Vol. 22, No. 1 (2002): 203–206. WFSA has been described by one close observer of the UN small arms process as the “international arm” of the NRA. See Peter Batchelor, “NGO Perspectives: NGOs and the Small Arms Issue,” in Disarmament Forum No. 1 (2002): 37–40, 38.

  • 78

     Goldring, “The NRA Goes Global,” 62–63.

  • 79

     Mason, “A Free Trade Perspective from the Firearms Community,” 204.

  • 80

     Goldring, “The NRA Goes Global,” 62.

  • 81

     Batchelor, “NGO Perspectives,” 39.

  • 82

     Batchelor, “NGO Perspectives,” 39.

  • 83

     Rachel Stohl, “Power of NRA Showcased in U.S. Delegation to Small Arms Conference,”Center for Defense Information, June 26, 2006. http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=3561. Accessed July 15, 2008.

  • 84

     Meyer and Staggenborg, “Structure of Political Opportunity,” 1649.

  • 85

     Meyer and Staggenborg, “Structure of Political Opportunity,” 1635.

  • 86

     Tina Fetner, “Working Anita Bryant: The Impact of Christian Anti-Gay Activism on Lesbian and Gay Movement Claims,” in Social Problems Vol. 48, No. 3 (2001): 411–428, 412.

  • 87

     Fetner, “Working Anita Bryant,” 411–428.

  • 88

     Louise Chappell, “Contesting Women’s Rights: Charting the Emergence of a Transnational Conservative Counter-Network,” in Global Society Vol. 20, No. 4 (2006): 491–520.

  • 89

     International Action Network on Small Arms, “IANSA V THE NRA.”http://www.iansa.org/action/gun_debate_transcript.doc. Accessed July 15, 2008.

  • 90

     Meyer and Staggenborg, “Structure of Political Opportunity,” 1639.

  • 91

     Chappell, “Contesting Women’s Rights,” 502, 509–514.

  • 92

     Chappell, “Contesting Women’s Rights,” 510.

  • 93

     Chappell, “Contesting Women’s Rights,” 513–514.

  • 94

     Chappell, “Contesting Women’s Rights,” 502–504.

  • 95

     Suzette Grillot, “Small Arms, Sovereign States and Human Rights,” in Negotiating Sovereignty and Human Rights: Actors and Issues in Contemporary Human Rights Politics, ed. Noha Shawki and Michaelene Cox (Farnham Surrey: Ahsgate Publishing, 2009), 215–236, especially 227–228.

  • 96

     Grillot, “Small Arms, Sovereign States,” 226–229.

  • 97

     Grillot, “Small Arms, Sovereign States.”

  • 98

     Press Release by the Center for Defense Information: Power of NRA Showcased in U.S. Delegation to Small Arms Conference, June 26, 2006.

  • 99

     Goldstone, “More Social Movements or Fewer?,” 357.