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Convergence in the Making: Transnational Civil Society and the Free Trade Area of the Americas

Marcelo I. Saguier
CSGR Working Paper No. 137/04
June 2004


The paper analysis the role Hemispheric Social Alliance network in its efforts to build a transnational coalition between labor unions, social movements, indigenous, environmental and citizen organizations throughout the Americas to oppose the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The prospects of hemispheric solidarity cannot be assumed in face of such heterogeneity of social actors. Drawing from social constructivism and the theory of structuration, the paper will propose a methodological approach to the study of transnational collective action in the Americas by stressing the political value of building discourse coalitions and embedding collective expectations. Defying the official meanings of the FTAA project, the Hemispheric Social Alliance has been articulating a counter-hegemonic critique to neo-liberal approaches to development in the Western Hemisphere.

Key words: Transnational civil society; trade integration; the Americas.

Address for correspondence

Marcelo I. Saguier
Politics & International Studies
University of Warwick
Coventry, United Kingdom

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