Evaluating Transnational Advocacy Networks (TANs): The Case of Jubilee 2000 Campaign (J2K)

Omwenyeke, Sunday Erokpaidamwen (2015). Evaluating Transnational Advocacy Networks (TANs): The Case of Jubilee 2000 Campaign (J2K). PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f010


This thesis deploys the Jubilee 2000 Campaign (J2K) to enhance our knowledge of transnational collective actions (TCAs). It contends that the major collective action theories are inadequate for explaining the emergence of J2K because of their inherent limitations and that the emergence of J2K was underpinned by the principles of ‘cutting the diamond’ of debt which included robust research, critical analysis and broad framing. This enabled the J2K to deconstruct the perceived arcane nature and complexity of debt and international finance, name debt a crisis, and reframe it as a justice based issue. The thesis argues that it is problematic to cast outcomes in definitive and conclusive terms due to the problem of causal complexity and that evaluating TCAs mainly in the binary of ‘success’ or ‘failure’ does not advance our knowledge of TCAs. For this reason, evaluation is better conducted in terms of outcomes before a judgement could be made in terms of success or failure of a collective action vis-a-vis its aims.

The thesis finds that the J2K was successful in its mobilisation and education of the public for debt cancellation. It achieved sensitising impacts because it was able to mobilise and socialise the relevant target actors to accept the debt situation as a crisis and it politicised and mainstreamed the issue in a political context where virtually all the target actors disputed that judgement. Further, the thesis finds evidence that the J2K achieved procedural and substantive impacts as it gained access to its targets and elicited policy changes that resulted in partial debt cancellation. A legacy of the J2K the thesis contends is that it reinforced aspects of the governance regime of international financial institutions and further exposes the North-South divide.

This thesis concludes that the categorisation of TCAs has intrinsic political meaning and that various groups’ agendas and the way TCAs emerge may help explain why TCA outcomes are controversial. It finds that J2K emergence could best be explained by a combination of the core contentions of the major collective action theories, and organisational platform is deemed a major distinguishing factor of TANs.

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