chapter  7
11 Pages

Conclusion: Counter-Experts, Social Movements and Global Politics

ByDerrick A. Purdue

The counter-expert Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who formed the leadership of the anti-GM (anti-genetically modified) movement in the mid-1990s could conveniently be split into large membership organizations or small knowledge intensive groups with little or no direct membership. A global civil society approach ignores the direct impact that social movements can have on international negotiations, which is better addressed by regime theory. The NGO counter-experts are dispersed across the globe and keep in contact in ways that are familiar to academic and professional networks: publishing, phoning, faxing or e-mailing each other, with face-to-face contact at conferences and meetings. Counter-experts add a new module to the 'modular' action repertoire of collective action, which social movements have been developing since the French Revolution. Counter-expert NGOs acted to align power and legitimacy in the case of the Biodiversity Convention. Hegemony is a structural form of leadership – executive power in the institutions is complemented by popular support in civil society.