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Transnational efforts for justice and social empowerment:the role of NGOs and transnational communities

Michigan State University Press
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  • Economics
  • Political Science


Scholars differentiate the concepts internationalism and transnationalism . The first refers to the relationship between macro institutions such as states, multinational corporations and other institutionalized actors that operate within and beyond national boundaries. The second consists of movements, organizations and communities that engage socio-cultural, political and economic activities across national territories. This paper deals with the concept of injustice herewith defined as the combined suffering from extreme poverty and the general insecurity undermining the immediate prerequisites for human life. The paper particularly discusses the transition from traditionalism to colonial internationalism and to the subsequent transnationalism efforts to deal with poverty and insecurity. The Somali case with its contemporary complexities of poverty and insecurity attests to a perpetual underdevelopment with colonial and post-colonial origin and negligence. However, over the past two decades competing actors on various forms of transnationalism asserted certain influences at meso and micro levels. The difference somewhat lies that colonial and post-colonial structures applied top down modernization tendencies to centralize socio-political and economic life. While transnationalism actors ideally aim at decentralizing and diversifying with bottom up more inclusive approaches in addressing poverty and insecurity. Finally in order to properly address transitional justice and consolidate social stability, the paper suggests the combination of some sort of collective macro state formation with substantial space for the gradual consolidating and vibrant transnationalism. The biggest challenge to such strategy comes from the lack of formal transnational “public sphere”. Although globalization brought significant practical changes, most societies remain reticent to exploring beyond the traditional macro national sphere.

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