Communicating practice in transnational advocacy : examples from Southeast Asia

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The proliferation of digital technology—both as hardware and software—provides opportunities for activist groups around the world to connect with one another more rapidly and efficiently than ever before. And as mobile Internet technology (including smartphones, personal digital assistants, and laptops) becomes cheaper and more readily available, the number of services offered to individuals has increased dramatically, including voice communication, Internet browsing, and data transfer. At the same time, the rise in transnational advocacy networks means that non-state actors are garnering new voices and challenging both old and new sites of authority, from local governments and state agencies to regional and international organizations. Based on fieldwork and with a focus on the process of interaction within transnational groups in Southeast Asia, this article adopts a communities of practice (COP) approach and applies it to the impact of digital networking in order to test some of the questions posed about the nature of the so-called technological revolution and to assess the ways in which technological advancement has affected these groups. It hypothesizes that even new and potentially levelling forms of communication can only respond to and reshape the pre-existing social conditions and organizational structures within which network participants function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-585
Issue number4
Early online date14 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • transnational advocacy
  • networks
  • digital technology
  • Communities of Practice
  • Southeast Asia


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