Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Hans Peter Schmitz


elite interviews, finite mixture modeling, mixed-method, socially distributed conceptualizations, transnational activism, transnational NGOs

Subject Categories

Political Science


This study examines how leaders of transnational NGOs (TNGOs) across the United States understand transnational activism and the roles their organizations play in world affairs. Three roles are identified: alleviation, realization and environmentalism. Analysis suggests that scholarship in international relations focuses disproportionately on the least common and least resourceful types of TNGOs and routinely mischaracterizes a small number of highly visible organizations as exemplary. Leaders' perspectives on organizational mission, activities, autonomy, collaboration, effectiveness and obstacles reveal that the most numerous and resourceful TNGOs are technocratic agencies favoring a materialistic, ameliorative approach to transnational activism. Moreover, to the extent that TNGOs exercise ideational power to achieve sociopolitical change, this power more closely resembles technocratic managerialism than overt political contention. Insights are derived from a mixed-method analysis of over 200 hours of in-depth interviews with top leaders from a diverse sample of 152 TNGOs registered in the United States.


Open Access